MVTA Says Yes to $6.6 Million Bus Garage Expansion
The expansion will serve the soon-to-be-opened Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid Transit route.
Construction is about to begin on a $6.6 million expansion to the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority's bus storage and maintenance facility in Eagan, as the authority ramps up for the opening of a new rapid transit route in Dakota County.
The expansion will add more than 24,000 square feet to the existing 80,000-square-foot building, and will expand the storage capacity of the facility from 60 to 100 buses, according to transit authority officials. Construction will also increase the number of maintenance bays from eight to 11 stalls.
The project is closely tied to the development of the authority's new Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, according to MVTA Board member and Eagan City Councilor Gary Hansen.
The rapid transit route, which is expected to begin operations this spring, will initially have five stations stretching from the Mall of America in Bloomington to Lakeville. But future plans call for as many as 13 stations, with four to five park-and-ride facilities, according to information released by the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, which will operate the line.
"The purpose is to expand the garage to accommodate the storage and maintenance of additional buses, and that includes the seven new buses that were purchased for the Cedar Avenue BRT," Hansen said. The facility is located on a 7.15-acre site west of Hwy. 13 in Eagan.
At its Feb. 27 meeting, The MVTA board voted to hire Golden Valley-based construction firm Morcon to complete the project. Construction is expected to begin in several weeks, Hansen said, and will likely be completed in spring 2014.
The MVTA's existing facility was built in 2005, and is one of two such storage facilities in Dakota County. The other storage building is located in Burnsville.
The Eagan expansion, Hansen and MVTA Executive Director Beverley Miller said, will help the organization prepare for future growth related to the rapid transit line and other routes. The construction is being funded by a $2.8 million grant from the Dakota County Regional Rail Authority and bonding proceeds.
The MVTA purchased seven NOVA buses for the rapid transit route at $501,000 apiece in 2012, according to Miller.
"We've been looking forward to the completion of the Eagan bus garage expansion for a couple of years, now and we’re excited about the facilties it will offer us in support of the upcoming Cedar Avenue bus rapid transit," Hansen said.