MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Construction is underway for the $2 billion Southwest light rail line that will connect downtown Minneapolis with Eden Prairie.

Reports say steel rails were delivered Monday near a future station in St. Louis Park. The Metropolitan Council's 14.5-mile (23-kilometer) line will include 16 new stations and connect to other lines.

The service, which will also link Hopkins and Minnetonka, is expected to begin in 2023.

Tree and plant removal along the corridor has been met with protests from Minneapolis residents.

A group replanted dozens of native wildflowers from the Kenilworth corridor by the project earlier this month. A petition was also sent to Gov. Tim Walz to delay cutting down more than 1,000 trees along the route until the project's $929 million in federal funding is secured.