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METRO Orange Line milestone: FTA announces Full Federal Funding!

On Nov. 28, the Federal Transit Administration announced it will fully fund the federal share of $74.1 million for the METRO Orange Line BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) project. The announcement means the $150.7 million project has now secured all funding and can now move into the final stages of construction, including construction of the Knox Avenue Transitway and station construction in Richfield, Bloomington and Burnsville.

“This is great news! The Orange Line BRT project is a critical part of building a 21st Century transportation system in Minnesota,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “This bus rapid transit route will provide better, faster transit services for more than 115,000 area residents, reduce congestion and support continued economic growth throughout the region.”

Under a partnership with MnDOT, early construction of Orange Line elements begun in 2018 through the 35W@94 project in Minneapolis.

Stay tuned for information on upcoming community events to celebrate full funding and the kickoff of Orange Line construction in Richfield, Bloomington and Burnsville.

2018 year in review

  • Construction in full swing. MnDOT began building two major components of the Orange Line through its 35W@94 project: a transit-only ramp at 12th Street and the I-35W & Lake Street Station. The 12th Street Ramp will provide the Orange Line and other I-35W express routes with exclusive downtown access, improving speed and reliability, and avoiding congestion. The two-story Lake Street station, providing connections to the Midtown Greenway, Route 21 and future B Line, is under construction as part of MnDOT’s I-35W@94 project. This station will greatly improve pedestrian experiences in the surrounding area and improve accessibility for bicyclists and transit customers.
  • All stations shovel ready. Orange Line station design was completed and approved by the cities of Minneapolis, Bloomington, Burnsville and Richfield, and MnDOT.
  • Express routes skirt congestion. Express routes, which were diverted to local streets from June through October due to construction closures, are now back on I-35W, improving their speed and reliability. Transit has an advantage exiting downtown through an exclusive access ramp to southbound I-35W.

Construction update

Looking east, bridge piers rise at the future I-35W & Lake Street Station

Looking east, bridge piers rise at the future I-35W & Lake Street Station

Watch the 35W@94 project take shape before your eyes through a drone video of the corridor.  The progress of Orange Line’s 12th Street Transit ramp and I-35W & Lake Street Station bridge abutments walls can be seen from a bird’s-eye view. Work continues to progress through the winter.

Station area plan recommendations for I-35W & 98th Street

In October, the City of Bloomington hosted an open house to share Station Area Plans of the neighborhood around South Bloomington Transit Center, the future home of the Orange Line’s I-35W & 98th Street Station. See the recommended plan draft here

If you have questions or comments about the station area plan, please contact city planner Michael Palermo at MPalermo@BloomingtonMN.gov.