Kenilworth group: Latest LRT tunnel not truly deep

No one ever said it was a deep tunnel per se, but a group of Minneapolis residents wants to make sure that much is clear to Gov. Mark Dayton.

The Kenilworth Preservation Group fired off a letter yesterday to Dayton criticizing what’s been called a “deep shallow tunnel,” an 11th-hour hybrid design concept that the Metropolitan Council hopes will assuage Minneapolis city leaders and clear the way for the Southwest light-rail project.

Stuart Chazin

“KPG believes it’s time the Met Council STOP’S grasping at straws,” wrote KPG Chairman Stuart Chazin. “The Met Council’s new ‘deeper cut & cover tunnel’ is NOT a deep tunnel. A deep tunnel only has major construction impacts on each end NOT the entire length.”

The group of neighbors has long called for a true deep-bore tunnel to carry the passenger trains under the Kenilworth Corridor, saying it would be the least disruptive during and after construction.

KPG also is protesting the short amount of time decision-makers will have to vote on how the project will resolve existing freight traffic through Kenilworth. The deep-shallow tunnel was first discussed at an advisory board meeting last week, and that committee is poised to make a recommendation in early April. The full Met Council is expected to vote shortly after.

“With all due respect, how can you allow the Met Council & the Corridor Management Committee to vote on the alignment thru Kenilworth Corridor without ALL the facts especially regarding the environmental impact? The Met Council & CMC do NOT have all the facts and they won’t for many months. Even their own consultants’ states in their conclusions that more studies need to be done.”

Met Council engineers are expected to present some pros and cons of the hybrid tunnel before the management committee on Wednesday.