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Rain forced MnDOT to reschedule Lowry Hill Tunnel washing

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: May 20, 2014 - 11:44 AM

The copious rainfall forced the Minnesota Department of Transportation to call off last night's tunnel washing. The annual spring cleaning has been rescheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Here is the original post from Monday afternoon before the washing was called off and rescheduled:

The Lowry Hill Tunnel is in need of a clean up job, and it's going to get it Monday and Tuesday nights.

MnDOT will close both directions of I-94 in downtown Minneapolis from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m and divert traffic onto the "Prohibited Vehicle" route. Ramps from Olson Hwy. and eastbound 394 to eastbound 94 also will be closed.

Motorists will be directed along Franklin and Hennepin Avenues, so expect delays as freeway traffic will be commingling with city traffic and stoplights.

The rub and scrub of the tunnel's tiles will be the main action, but how can that take seven hours over two days?

There's a lot more that goes on, said MnDOT spokesman Nick Carpenter. Crews also repair damaged pavement and guardrails, replace lighting and damaged wiring, clean and repair storm sewer drains, and change filters in the tunnel ventilation system.  It's all meant to prolong the life of the tunnels.

"You can probably imagine the dirt and debris that accumulates in the tunnels during the winter months," Carpenter said. "By cleaning the tiles inside of the tunnels, we’re improving the visibility and safety for motorists."

The same procedure takes place each fall, too.

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