Most of us have jammed-packed schedules, and the last thing we have time for is to attend an open house about a road construction project.

But if you live or go anywhere in the east metro here's one you might want to make time for. This summer, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will begin a major reconstruction project on I-94 between downtown St. Paul and Maplewood. On Wednesday, the agency will hold a drop-in session from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sun Ray Public Library, 2105 Wilson Ave. in St. Paul, to lay out what's in store for drivers for the next two years.

More than 80,000 to 135,000 motorists use the five-mile stretch, that even on it's best days can serve up a bottleneck or two. Take away a lane and close ramps, then throw in traffic shifts and -- well -- you get the idea.

MnDOT says it will have at least two lanes open in each direction.  And an additional lane during morning and afternoon rush hour depending on the direction of travel. Still there is this warning:

"Motorists will face an increase in travel times and should allow for more time to reach their destination," said Denise Workcuff, a MnDOT spokeswoman. "If drivers have another route to get to and from work or home, they should probably take it to avoid congestion and delays.

Starting this spring and running through the Fall of 2017, MnDOT will resurface both directions of the freeway between Mounds Blvd. and just east of Century Avenue. The project also includes adding or extending existing auxiliary lanes, building emergency pull-off sites, upgrading traffic signals and pedestrian access, adding trail connections, and constructing or repairing noise walls in certain locations.

Here are some specifics:

  • Build a new auxiliary lane & extend the existing auxiliary lane along eastbound I-94 between the exit to East 7th St. and the entrance from Mounds Blvd.
  • Construct two emergency pull-off sites along eastbound I-94 between the exit to East 7th S. and the entrance from Mounds Blvd.
  • Resurface Hwy 61 from north of Burns Ave. to Hwy. 5
  • Create trail connections at McKnight Road. and Century Avenue.
  • Update signals and pedestrian access
  • Build a new noise wall and replace part of an existing noise wall between Conway Street and Maple Street.
  • Repair bridges

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