Preliminary engineering and Tier 2 environmental review
The NLX project is transitioning into the next phase of project development, which includes preliminary engineering and Tier 2 project level environmental review. The move into preliminary engineering and project level environmental work changes management of the NLX project. Since 2007, the Minneapolis-Duluth/Superior Passenger Rail Alliance, a joint powers board of Minnesota and Wisconsin counties and cities and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, has advocated for and advanced the NLX Project. With the completion of the NLX Tier 1 EA, MnDOT and FRA, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the Alliance, will now lead the effort to advance the NLX Project. MnDOT has hired Quandel Consultants, a firm with extensive high speed passenger rail experience, to assist with project management oversight, and coordination of preliminary engineering activities, Tier 2 environmental review and financial planning.
Preliminary engineering and Tier 2 environmental review is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015.
Preliminary engineering includes preparing designs for track and signal improvements, required for high speed passenger trains on the BNSF tracks as well as improvements to roadways that cross the tracks either at-grade or over a bridge. Preliminary engineering also includes the identification of sites for stations, layover facilities and a light maintenance facility.
Tier 2 environmental review
Tier 2 environmental review will further analyze potential environmental impacts and identify avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures as preliminary engineering advances. Stakeholder involvement and public participation will be scheduled throughout the next phase.