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Weekend traffic: Bus route changes, State Fair and road construction

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 22, 2014 - 9:42 PM

If you ride Metro Transit buses, pay attention to new schedule changes that go into effect Saturday on about 40 routes. On Monday, look for the opening of the new Hwy. 610 & Noble Pkwy. Park & Ride off 95th Avenue and Noble Pkwy. in Brooklyn Park and new express service from the lot to downtown Minneapolis.

This weekend, the Twins have games Friday through Sunday against the Tigers at Target Field while the Renaissance Festival continues in Shakopee.  The State Fair rolls on. Earlier this week I posted a primer on how to get to the fair by express bus or taking a free shuttle from one of the fair's 33 park and ride lots.

Naturally no summer weekend would be complete without having to dodge orange cones and barricades. Here is your weekend wrap-up:

Transit

Metro Transit is adding extra trips on some routes that serve schools to accommodate demand that will rise when classes begin in public schools and colleges and universities. In all, 40 routes will have service tweaks, with time changes and a few minor route changes that you can see here.

It's nothing like the sweeping changes instituted in June with the Green Line started running, but riders should "take look at online schedules to be sure they are catching the bus where they expect it to be," said transit spokesman Drew Kerr. They really "reflect rider needs."

The biggest changes will be the addition of express routes 768 from the 95th Avenue Park and Ride off Noble Pkwy. and Hwy. 610. Minor adjustments to Route 852 will take it onto the campus of Anoka Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids, and no Saturday service at the Foley Park & Ride.

Route 865 will serve the new Paul Parkway Park and Ride and travel between Ham Lake and East Bethel via Hwy. 65 to Minneapolis.

And now onto road construction:

Metro area road work

94th Street Bridge over I-35W in Bloomington

The 94th Street bridge over I-35W in Bloomington is closed through mid-October. Ramps to and from 35W to 94th are closed for the next several weeks.

I-35W and University Avenue/4th Street ramp near the U of M

There is a lot of activity along the northbound lanes of 35W in Minneapolis. The freeway itself is open but a number expect a lane shift as you pass between University Avenue and NE. Johnson Street.

of on and off ramps are not.  Here is what's not:

  • The Hennepin Avenue exit ramp from northbound I-35W will be closed through Tuesday.
  • The New Brighton Boulevard/Stinson Boulevard exit from northbound I-35W is closed. Motorists should use the Johnson Street exit. The New Brighton Boulevard/Stinson Boulevard exit will be closed permanently as crews reconfigure the Johnson Street ramp to serve all three streets.
  • The northbound ramp from University Avenue/4th Street to I-35W will be closed through midnight, Wednesday.

4th Street in downtown Minneapolis

Utility work has this street closed from I-35W to Washington/Cedar Avenue until late September. Drivers can still get onto southbound 35W, but those heading to the University of Minnesota will need to follow this detour: Northbound on Park Avenue, then right on Washington Avenue to Cedar Avenue.

In a reprieve, MnDOT has pushed the closure of the flyover bridge from northbound 35W to 3rd Street and downtown Minneapolis back to Sept. 2.

Hwy. 55 in Eagan

The westbound lanes of Hwy 55 will be closed between Lone Oak Road and the north intersection of  Hwy. 149. Detour: Use Lone Oak Road and Lexington Avenue   The eastbound lanes will remain open.

Also in the area, Hwy. 149 will be single lane between I-494 and Hwy. 55.

Northbound Hwy 65 in Fridley, Spring Lake Park

Northbound Hwy 65 between Medtronic Parkway/Old Central Avenue and County Road 10 is closed and detoured.

Brooklyn Boulevard Bridge over Hwy 100

The County Road 152/Brooklyn Boulevard Bridge is closed to motorists and pedestrians through mid-October.

Hwy 61 in White Bear Lake

Hwy 61 between White Bear Avenue and north of Hwy 96 is reduced to a single lane. There are multipe streets that are closed where they intersect with Hwy 61.

Hwy 101 and County Road 144 in Rogers

Lane closures; Northbound to eastbound County Road 144 is closed; westbound County Road 144 to northbound Hwy 101 is closed; County Road 144 is closed between James Road and the Hwy 101 construction; Hwy 101 between South Diamond Lake Road and 147th Street is single lane.

I-494 and Cedar Avenue in Bloomington

Mall of America shoppers and those passing by on Cedar Avenue will need to be on alert for traffic switches, narrow lanes and construction between 66th Street and Old Shakopee Road.

The ramps from eastbound I-494 to northbound Cedar Avenue and the northbound Cedar Avenue to westbound I-494 will be closed through mid-October.

Motorists on eastbound I-494 who need to access northbound Cedar Avenue will be detoured to northbound 34th Street and back west on I-494.  Northbound Cedar drivers needing to go west on I-494 should use the west I-494/Hwy. 5 exit one-half mile to the south. Detour signs will be posted, MnDOT says.

I-35E in St. Paul

The ramp from westbound I-94 to northbound I-35E is also closed for another week. A number of ramps between Little Canada Road and Maryland Avenue remained closed as work on adding a new MnPASS lane and reconstruction of 35E continues. Here is a list:

  • Little Canada Road to southbound I-35E
  • Southbound I-35E to eastbound Highway 36
  • Westbound and eastbound Highway 36 to southbound I-35E
  • Roselawn Avenue to southbound I-35E
  • Maryland Avenue to northbound I-35E
  • Northbound I-35E to Roselawn Avenue
  • Roselawn Avenue to northbound I-35E
  • Northbound I-35E to westbound Highway 36
  • Northbound I-35E to eastbound Highway 36
  • Westbound and eastbound Highway 36 to northbound I-35E
  • Northbound I-35E to Little Canada Road

South of downtown, 35E will be reduced to a single lane between Randolph Avenue and Shepard Road. The closure from 7 a.m. Saturday until 5 p.m. Sunday will affect both directions.

Southbound I-35W ramp to westbound Hwy 13

The southbound I-35W ramp to westbound Hwy 13 is closed through late fall as part of a Dakota County project.

County Road 61/Flying Cloud Drive in Chaska

Look for flaggers and construction in the vicinity of County 61/Flying Cloud Drive and the intersection of Hwy. 101.

In addition, both directions of County Road 61 will close east of Great Plains Blvd. at Bluff Creek. Motorists traveling west on County 61 will not have access to the Hwy. 101 bridge into Shakopee. The bridge itself will be open to traffic between Shakopee and Eden Prairie.

Hwy. 169 in Edina

The northbound lanes are closed from I-494 to Bren Road. Detour: Westbound I-494 to eastbound I-394 or eastbound I-494 to northbound Hwy. 100, then west on I-394

I-494 in Plymouth

MnDOT is widening bridges between and other work ahead of a freeway expansion project that will bring a third lane in each direction between Hwy. 55 and Bass Lake Road. The northbound lanes at the Canadian Pacific Rail will be reduced to a single lane so crews can widen the bridge. Night and weekend lane shifts on I-494 can be expected through November as crews remove the guardrails to reconstruct the road shoulders.

A reminder that Schmidt Lake Road under 494 is closed. Motorists can bypass the closed segment by using Vicksburg Lane or Northwest Boulevard to County Road 47.

Hwy. 7 in St. Louis Park

Be cautious as you pass through the bridge reconstruction zone at Louisiana Avenue. Traffic has been switched to the new Hwy. 7 bridge, but there is no access to Louisiana Avenue.

Pennsylvania Avenue/Phalen Boulevard

For those waiting for this closure to kick in, it looks like Saturday is the day. Weather permiting, both directions of the road will close at I-35E for two weeks.

Motorists will be detoured to Jackson Street, University Avenue and Olive Street to bypass the closure. Once the road reopens, Pennsylvania Avenue/Phalen Boulevard will remain a single lane in each direction at I-35E through late 2015 for bridge construction.

Hwy. 36 in east metro

Be ready for intermittent lane closures on Hwy. 36 between I-694 and De Montreville Trail in Lake Elmo through Thursday.  Ahead, the highway is a single lane through Oak Park Heights and Stillwater.

Hwy. 55 in west metro

Motorists will encounter overnight delays between Rockford and Buffalo as lanes close and flaggers hold traffic for up to 20 minutes at a time beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. All lanes will be open by 5 a.m. the following mornings.
 

394 reopens after police activity on overpass caused major A.M. backup

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 22, 2014 - 9:06 AM

Interstate 394 reopened shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, after police activity on an overpass had caused a massive traffic jam for hours.

The police activity began to unfold on I-394 right around 6 a.m.  Authorities shut down the westbound lanes from downtown Minneapolis to Penn Avenue and the eastbound HOT lanes from Hwy. 100 to downtown Minneapolis.

Additionally, one of the eastbound 394 lanes was blocked at Penn Avenue, which led to a massive traffic jam that at its worst stretched back to General Mills Blvd.

Some drivers on westbound 394 were stuck on the freeway for two hours until just after 8:30 a.m. when they were allowed to pass. The lanes then were closed again.  Other drivers were allowed to turn around and get off the freeway by driving the wrong way the on ramp at Dunwoody Boulevard. as directed by police.

The incident had a wide ripple effect, leading to gridlock conditions on several arteries that feed into downtown. Northbound 35W was knotted up from Crosstown to downtown Minneapolis while westbound 94 was stopped from Hwy. 280 to downtown.  Both of those routes are starting to see some improvement at this hour.

Alternate routes, Hwy. 55 and Glenwood Avenue absorbed some of the 394 traffic and that made those routes bog down during the heart of the rush. Transit even used alternate routes to get around the mess on 394.

At about 9:50 a.m., Minneapolis police reported that the situation on the overpass had been resolved and all 394 lanes were reopened.

Elsewhere, I-694 had a traffic tieup around 8 a.m. with crashes eastbound at Silver Lake Road and westbound at East River Road.

And the rush hour got off to a violent start when a vehicle ran off a freeway ramp in Fridley and rolled several times. The incident occurred at 4:15 a.m. on the ramp from eastbound 694 to East River Road.

All five people riding in the vehicle were injured and taken to hospitals, the State Patrol said.

That incident had the ramp closed for two hours, but it was not the worst traffic tangler of the morning.

8:45 a.m. update: One lane now open on westbound 394

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 22, 2014 - 8:46 AM

After a 2-hour closure, one lane of traffic is now being allowed to pass under the Penn Avenue overpass. MnDOT also says the ramp from southbound 94 to westbound 394 has reopened.

Eastbound 394 is still stacked up from General Mills Blvd. into downtown Minneapolis.

The HOT lanes from Hwy. 100 to downtown Mpls remain closed. 

Northbound 35W is still tight from Crosstown to downtown Minneapolis. 

Westbound 94 is crammed from Huron Blvd. to the Lowry Hill Tunnel.

7:45 a.m. update: Major mess in downtown Minneapolis

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 22, 2014 - 7:44 AM

As we have been telling you, police activity has the westbound lanes of I-394 closed at Penn Avenue. That is causing a major disruption for 394 in both directions along with feeder routes.

Westbound 94 becomes crammed at Cedar Avenue through the Lowry Hill Tunnel. Southbound 35W comes to a crawl at Hiawatha Avenue and is jammed through the downtown commons.

Northbound 35W is stacking up from the I-94 exits back to 50th Street. 

Southbound 94 is parked from Broadway through the Lowry Hill Tunnel, and the off ramps to 394 and Lyndale Avenue are going nowhere fast.

Eastbound 394 is creeping along from Louisiana Avenue to downtown.  Two lanes are open at Penn Avenue, but the HOT lanes are blocked at Hwy. 100.

It's a major mess all over.

7:35 a.m. update: Current travel times

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 22, 2014 - 7:36 AM

The ramp from eastbound 694 to East River Road is back open now that a rollover crash from this morning has been cleared.  Five people were injured in the mishap around 4:15 a.m.  All were taken to the hospital, the State Patrol said.

The current drama playing out is on I-394. The westbound lanes are shut down from downtown Minneapolis to Penn Avenue.  Eastbound lanes are reduced to two at Penn Avenue and that has traffic knotted up at Louisiana Avenue.  The HOT lanes are closed at Hwy. 100.

Here are some current travel times:

North metro

Southbound 35W from 95th Avenue to downtown Minneapolis: 18 minutes

Southbound 35E from County 96 to I-94: 10 minutes.

Eastbound Hwy. 10 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 13 minutes

Westbound 694 from 35E to Hwy. 252: 10 minutes. Eastbound is 11 minutes.

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 10 minutes

Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 13 minutes

Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 13 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 169 from I-94 to Crosstown: 12 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 100 from I-94 to Crosstown: 15 minutes

South metro

Northbound 35W from County 42 to Crosstown: 10 minutes    To downtown Minneapolis: 18 minutes.

Northbound Cedar Avenue from 35E to the Crosstown: 13 minutes

Northbound 35E from County 42 to downtown St. Paul: 19 minutes

Northbound 169 from Canterbury Road to 494: 12 minutes

Eastbound Hwy. 212 from Dell Road to Crosstown: 10 minutes

Westbound 494 from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 100: 7 minutes.  Eastbound 494 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 5 minutes

Westbound Crosstown from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 169: 9 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 7 minutes

East metro

Westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul: 16 minutes

Westbound 94 from 35E to the Lowry Hill Tunnel: 10 minutes.

Westbound Hwy. 36 from Edgerton Street to 35W: 6 minutes.

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