Skyway reopens

The city of St. Paul officially opened the skyway over 5th street this morning, 208 days after construction on the light rail link between downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis closed the link.

It’s one of the first things going back together as part of the final month of what the Metropolitan Council is calling the “heavy construction” season of 2011.

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Above, Shawn Wiski, the property manager at nearby Alliant Bank Center with the big scissors, snipped the ceremonial ribbon.

Central Corridor project spokeswoman Laura Baenen says work on the front of the Union Depot is at least done enough to allow Christo’s restaurant to reopen soon in the lobby.

But the big deadline is still looming: getting 4th Street back into shape and three miles of University Avenue through western St. Paul open by November 30.

“We’re going to assure that they make it,” St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said this morning, at the skyway opening. “There are going to be two lanes of traffic opened up. I’ve got assurances from the project office, assurances from the contractor. They’re going to put whatever resources they need to get those lanes of traffic open. They only thing they can’t control is the Minnesota weather, but they’ve even factored that in.”

But at least you can walk from one end of downtown to another this winter without donning a parka.

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