Richfield City leaders joined Governor Walz at the groundbreaking ceremony for the metro orange line last week. Funding has been secured and the project,which is a 17-mile planned highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line that will connect Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington, and Burnsville along I-35W, is now underway. The Orange Line will provide frequent, all-day service in both directions, seven days a week.
This route will upgrade and replace the existing local Route 535 with enhanced service and amenities, and new station features will benefit other transit riders along the I-35W corridor. No changes to existing express bus routes are planned. Orange Line service will have competitive running times for station-to-station trips and offer a new option for reverse-commuters (riders traveling from urban areas to suburban destinations).
The project includes street and highway improvements, upgraded transit stations, and improved bus routes. BRT provides high quality, reliable service like light rail transit, but is less expensive to build and allows for a more flexible route.
Funding commitments for the Orange Line have been provided by the Counties Transit Improvement Board, the State of Minnesota, the Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County, Dakota County, and the Federal government. The project is currently in the engineering phase. A transit-only access ramp between downtown Minneapolis and I-35W and a new Lake Street Station have completed engineering and are now under construction, led by MnDOT.
This is just one great transportation project happening in our community that will increase accessibility for people across the region.