It’s a holiday weekend for most people, but crews from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Metro Transit will be out on the job fixing roads and upgrading parts of the Blue Line (formerly called the Hiawatha light-rail line). That will result in a series of closures around the metro that will stymie drivers.
In addition, ramps on Interstate 494 will be closed and a major traffic switch is coming for drivers on Interstate 35E in Eagan.
In addition, several sports events could snag traffic. The Minnesota Lynx will host the Phoenix Mercury at 7 p.m. Sunday at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. In St. Paul, the Saints have games Saturday and Sunday with the Kansas City T-Bones at Midway Stadium. A postgame fireworks show is set for Saturday night.
The main traffic situations to be aware of:
Blue Line Track work
Metro Transit will replace light-rail trains with buses on portions of the Blue Line Saturday and Sunday nights. Overnight Friday until 7 a.m. Saturday, crews will be conducting maintenance work between Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis to the Franklin Avenue Station. From 7:30 p.m. Sunday to 3:30 a.m. Monday, the work will extend from Target Field Station to 46th Street.
Passengers will be directed to Route 55 buses, which will travel on streets near the light-rail line.
Trips by bus take longer than those by train, so plan extra time to reach your destinations or to make connections to other bus routes. Crews will smooth the tracks and make repairs, agency spokesman John Siqveland said. Riders can expect more overnight closures the rest of the month.
Traffic switch on 35E in Eagan
Beginning Sunday, all traffic on I-35E between Cedar Avenue in Eagan and the I-35E/I-35W split in Burnsville will be shifted to the northbound side of the freeway. The head-to-head traffic will result in a single lane each direction until July 22. Currently, traffic is sharing the southbound lanes.
Also Sunday, the ramp from southbound I-35E to County Road 11 will be closed.
I-94 returns to single lane
Enjoy Interstate 94 full lanes through St. Cloud and Clearwater while you can; they’re all open for the holiday weekend. But as of midnight Sunday, road work will resume and traffic will return to a single-lane configuration from County Road 75 to the Hwy. 24 exit at Clearwater.
Intermittent lane closures will continue on the 7.5-mile segment through July 26.
Penn Avenue and 35W ramps closing on 494
On Friday, barricades were scheduled to go up on two ramps that allow motorists to access eastbound 494 in Bloomington.
Crews shut down entrance ramps from Penn Avenue and from northbound and southbound I-35W to eastbound 494. They will remain closed until mid-August. The closures are necessary as crews work in the center lanes and the median between France and Lyndale avenues, MnDOT said.
The ramp from France Avenue to eastbound 494 has reopened, so motorists can access eastbound 494 there.
A reminder to motorists heading to Terminal 2 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport: The ramp from westbound 494 to 34th Avenue is closed for work on the new diverging-diamond interchange at 34th. Drivers are being detoured via 24th Avenue and Airport Lane.
No closures on Hwy. 169 in northwest metro
All lanes of southbound Hwy. 169 between Hwy. 55 and I-94 will be open this weekend. They have been shut down, or scheduled to be closed, for a pavement repair and resurfacing project over the past month. The weather has not always cooperated, but more weekend closures are coming.
However, this weekend, drivers get a reprieve. Of course, the weather looks like it will be fine.
Hwy. 36 update
Motorists in Maplewood have been dealing with the closure of Hwy. 36 in both directions between Hwy. 61 and White Bear Avenue for a couple of weeks. As of last Wednesday, a few new closures have been added:
The ramp from southbound Hwy. 61 to westbound Hwy. 36 is closed and will not reopen until Aug. 1. Ahead, look for some construction from Hwy. 61 to west of the Keller Lake bridge.
Pedestrians and bicyclists will find the Bruce Vento Trail over Hwy. 36 is closed. No travel is being allowed from Cope Avenue to Gervais Avenue in Maplewood.
Trail users are being rerouted via Cope Avenue, Hazelwood Street and Gervais Avenue. A trail crossing has been installed at Hwy. 36, and a temporary trail marker has been put down on Cope Avenue. The trail is scheduled to reopen on Aug. 21.
To the east, motorists on DeMontreville Trail can’t access Hwy. 36 until Wednesday. Crews are completing a new J-turn at the intersection.
Minneapolis parkway closures
The Independence Day Run will take place on Lake Harriet Parkway around the lake from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Plan on using alternate routes during the run.