Light rail service will be suspended on portions of the Green and Blue lines this weekend as construction related to improvements in downtown Minneapolis continues.
Buses will replace trains from 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, through 3:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 30, between Target Field Station and the Franklin Avenue and Raymond Avenue stations. Replacement buses will operate on a similar schedule as trains but can take more time.
While light rail service is suspended, crews will install overhead power lines that transfer energy to trains, underground cabling that will better manage electrical current and signals that guide train movements.
The Washington Avenue Bridge will also be cleaned and painted, and the City of Minneapolis will be repainting crosswalks in several locations.
Construction work will be occurring around the clock until light rail service can be restored.
This summer, light rail service was suspended downtown for nearly two weeks as crews replaced sections of worn rail and installed two new crossovers sections that allow trains to move from one track to another downtown.
The overhead power lines and signals being installed this weekend will allow the trains to use the new crossover sections. For safety reasons, the wiring and signals work couldn’t occur during this summer’s shutdown.
The crossovers and signals will improve reliability by allowing trains to switch between tracks when there is increased train traffic or if a section of track is unexpectedly blocked. The new rail has also created a smoother ride, and will be more durable over time.
Light rail service will be suspended in downtown Minneapolis overnight several times in November and December to allow for signal testing. Test trains will move through downtown but replacement bus service is being provided because the test runs are expected to take longer than scheduled trips.
Pre-planned light rail shutdowns are scheduled during weekends and overnight to limit the impact on customers. In September, combined average weekday ridership on the Blue and Green lines was about 17 percent higher than on Saturdays and 71 percent higher than on Sundays.
The window for construction is also constrained by weather.
Some additional weekend closures are planned for 2018, but no extended light rail shutdowns are expected for at least several years.
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