In conjunction with the coming
Central Corridor Light Rail Transit
line that will link Minneapolis and St. Paul, a new $4.3 million tunnel is needed to accommodate foot traffic near the state capitol at University Avenue North.
The tunnel will add to an extensive subterranean tunnel system
throughout the capitol complex in St. Paul that was constructed in various stages between 1913 and 1984, according to Jim Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Administration.
The tunnels protect pedestrians from the elements while providing easy access to and from various buildings on the campus.
Recently the department sent out a request for proposals with a March 16 deadline for design and
engineering work on the tunnel. Schwartz says the state agency will bring its funding request to the state legislature in 2012.
The reason for a tunnel, here, he says, has to do with the siting of the light rail line at this juncture. It'll block off street-level crossing on University Avenue North.
"There'll be a wall to the north of the capitol, on the south side of University," he says. "In addition to the fact that trains will be going back and forth, it'll eliminate the pedestrian crossing at grade [on University Avenue North]," with the nearest crossing down the road on Rice Street.
The tunnel, which will connect the campus's north and south ends, will be nearly 30 feet wide, he explains. It'll be adjacent to a smaller existing tunnel that will be used for utilities.
One requirement is that the tunnel be done in keeping with the capitol building's historic status, he says.
Source: Jim Schwartz, spokesperson, Minnesota Department of Administration
Writer: Anna Pratt