The Monday evening drive home on I-494 through Plymouth and Maple Grove should not be as hellacious for northbound commuters as the southbound drive into the office was on Monday morning.
Two northbound lanes will be open between Hwy. 55 and the Fish Lake Interchange, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is telling the Drive. Motorists heading south, however, will only have one lane open.
On Tuesday morning, southbound traffic will have two lanes open but only one for northbound traffic, MnDOT says.
That was the configuration that was to have been in place Monday morning, but drivers were caught by surprise when MnDOT had only one southbound lane was open. The result was a disastrous commute that plugged up traffic for miles on eastbound 94 from Rogers to the I-94/694/494 split. At times, the 10-mile trip from Hwy. 101 to the split was more than 30 minutes, more than twice the normal travel time.
Heavy rains on Sunday night prevented MnDOT from putting down the striping needed to switch all traffic to the northbound lanes. Since some of the barriers and guardrails around bridge pier struts and overhead signs had been removed from the southbound lanes, MnDOT closed one lane to provide a safety buffer, said spokeswoman Bobbie Dahlke.
"Unfortunately, motorists were unaware of the situation and traffic configuration until they encountered it this morning," she said.
Here is the plan moving forward: MnDOT will make the traffic switch overnight. All southbound lanes will be closed from midnight to 5 a.m.
A moveable barrier will be set up on the northbound lanes, allowing for the planned traffic configuration to be in place.
There will be two lanes in each direction on I-494 between Highway 55 and I-394.
The following ramps in the vicinity of I-394 will be closed unti this fall. They include:
- Westbound I-394 to southbound I-494.
- Southbound I-494 to westbound Hwy 12.
- Southbound I-494 to Carlson Parkway.
- Carlson Parkway to southbound I-494.
- Carlson Parkway to northbound I-494.