A portion of Interstate 35E in the south metro will be closed for as long as a month, and traffic on I-35E and I-35 through Eagan, Burnsville and Lakeville will be reduced to a single lane this summer as part of a major resurfacing and bridge repair project that will affect 17 miles of freeway.
Significant delays are expected for more than 100,000 drivers who use the roads each day when the $20 million project gets underway in May, MnDOT spokeswoman Kirsten Klein said.
"It will be slow," she said of the affected area on 35E from Cedar Avenue south to the 35E/35W split, and south on 35 to the Elko New Market exit at County Road 2.
The big-ticket item is a new flyover bridge that will carry motorists from southbound 35E to southbound 35. The current bridge has a crack in it and will be torn down in May. Interstate 35E will be closed from County Road 42 to its junction with Interstate 35 while the new bridge is built. That could take 30 days. Northbound 35E will remain open, Klein said.
The official detour will take drivers along 494 to 35W.
Once the new bridge opens, work on pavement rehabilitation and repairs on six other bridges on I-35E from Cedar Avenue to the 35E/35W split will begin. The freeway will be reduced to a single lane in each direction.
Work on the segment of I-35 from the split south to County Road 2 will commence when work on 35E is complete. A single-lane configuration will be in place from midsummer into the fall as MnDOT rehabs or replaces concrete and completes bridge work.
Bridge work on 35W could snarl traffic on that busy freeway this summer, too. MnDOT will replace bridge decks at 82nd, 86th and 90th Streets in Bloomington.
To make matters worse, the work on I-35 and I-35E will coincide with road work planned by cities and Dakota County.
"People might not be able to take their usual route" to get to places, Klein said. "But they will be able to get there."
With major delays such as those seen last fall on Cedar Avenue expected, Klein said MnDOT plans to survey drivers to find out how they will navigate around the construction.
Motorists who want to participate in the survey and get e-mail alerts can sign up at www.startribune.com/a2012.
Tim Harlow 612-673-7768 Twitter: @timstrib