City Council approves key connection for Orange Line BRT system

The City Council voted today to approve the final layout for the Orange Line 12th Street Transit Ramp – a lynchpin for the proposed Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system linking Burnsville to downtown Minneapolis.

The transit ramp will connect Interstate 35W to transit lanes on Marquette and Second Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. It’s designed to alleviate one of the worst congestion pinch points in the region’s transit network.

The approval for the ramp is an update to the municipal consent granted by the City Council in May approving a series of I-35W projects between Interstate 94 and 42nd Street South, including new bridges, pavement rehabilitation and a new BRT station on Interstate 35W at Lake Street.

The 12th Street Transit Ramp will serve Orange Line buses and all I-35W express bus routes, about 700 bus trips daily.

The proposed Orange Line BRT is a 17-mile route linking Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington and Burnsville along I-35W slated to open for service in late 2019. It will feature 12 stations and run 20 hours a day, seven days a week. Construction on the line is expected to start in 2017.

Interstate 35W is the region’s most heavily traveled express bus corridor with 13,000 existing bus riders each weekday on 26 routes. Ridership is project to double by 2040 with the launch of the Orange Line BRT system.