Cedar and Kenilworth trails closed for 2 to 3 years for Southwest Light Rail construction

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A new light rail line will connect Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, but some trail users aren’t happy about it.

With construction starting Monday, the Cedar and Kenilworth trails will be closed for two to three years as that work is done.

Cyclists are not happy about the trail closures, as the detours will be an inconvenience. They have a larger issue, however, with the project as a whole.

Bikers, walkers and runners flock by the dozens to the Kenilworth and Cedar Lake Trails on a daily basis, but that all comes to a halt starting Monday.

“Too bad it’s going through,” said Tom Mehle, a trail user. “If there were a human blockade or protest, I would be here.”

Saturday afternoon, crews were out along the trails answering questions ahead of Monday’s closure, when construction is set to begin.

“It’s going to be a change,” said Trevor Roy, a Southwest Light Rail spokesperson. “Construction, we have not made any sort of claim that it is going to be a pleasant experience. It’s going to be unpleasant, but we’re here to make sure this is as easy of a process as it can be.”

For the next three years, trail users will be detoured around the Kenilworth Trail. It’ll be a little over two years for those who use the Cedar Lake Trail.

“I don’t like it,” said Joseph Schlosser, who uses the trails. “I mean, to me, riding a bike, you’ve got to have progress, but to destroy a place like this is not right.”

It’s a shared feeling among those like Marion Collins, who live right near the construction zone.

 “We’re right on the corner there, and instead of listening to what we’re listening to, you know, the birds,” Collins said. “They’re going to run a light rail through here and we’re going to listen to 'ding ding ding' 22 hours a day.”

The project will extend the Green Line by 14.5 miles, connecting Minneapolis to St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie.

“This is part of a bigger project,” said Roy. “And Southwest is going to bring Minneapolis, the western suburbs in to the 21st century, the 21st century transportation system that, frankly, the Twin Cities has been lacking.”