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Keeping tabs on Monday's morning commute

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: December 8, 2014 - 5:36 AM

Good morning, commuters!

It's murky with patches of drizzle and freezing rain, so the weather could play a role in this morning's commute. Be alert for isolated slippery spots, especially the further out you get from the core of the metro.

Up in White Bear Lake, the right lane of eastbound 694 at Hwy. 61 is closed. A power pole fire knocked out electricity and Xcel Energy crews are on the scene doing repairs. MnDOT says this lane closure could last until this afternoon.

The lanes of westbound 94 are back open between Hwy. 61 and 35E. That's following a weekend closure. However, the ramp from northbound Hwy. 52 to westbound 94 is still closed.

The right lane closure on eastbound 94 in Minneapolis is back. More noise wall work means the right lane at Huron Blvd. is blocked until 3 p.m. today.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the roads and rails this morning, reporting any delays or issues — and I will need your help.

If you see or hear about any congestion, delays or problems, e-mail drive@startribune or tweet @stribdrive.

Goal of cutting the number of 2014 traffic-related deaths to 350 or fewer is in reach

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: November 14, 2014 - 11:35 AM

The Minnesota Department of Traffic Safety through its Toward Zero Deaths initiative has a goal of reducing the number of fatalities on state roads to 350 this year. The goal is in reach.

The death of 31-year-old Renee Hallberg of Monticello on Thursday brought the total for 2014 to 304, or 21 fewer than at this time last year. In total, 387 people died in traffic crashes on state roads in 2013. Hallberg was taking the ramp from Hwy. 15 to eastbound I-94 near St. Cloud around 7:30 p.m. when she drifted off the road. Hallberg struck a guardrail and overpass pillar before veering off the road, the State Patrol said.

Today marks the second and final day of the annual Toward Zero Deaths conference in Duluth. More than 800 traffic safety advocates, including law enforcement officers, emergency medical and trauma service providers, traffic engineers and public health officials are in attendance.

The two-day conference at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center is billed as a forum for sharing information on best practices in engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency medical/health services and for identifying new approaches to reducing the number of traffic fatalities and life-changing injuries on Minnesota roads. It is coordinated by the state departments of  Public Safety, Transportation, and Health.

TZD was started in 2003, a year in which the state recorded 657 deaths on the roads. Since then, the number of fatalities has dropped 41 percent to under 400. The high-water mark was 1,060 deaths in 1968.

Among the leading causes of crashes are driver distraction, speeding and alcohol.

Here are crash numbers from the past decade as provided by the DPS:

  • 2003 – 655
  • 2004 – 567
  • 2005 – 559
  • 2006 – 494
  • 2007 – 510
  • 2008 – 455
  • 2009 – 421
  • 2010 – 411
  • 2011 – 368
  • 2012 – 395
  • 2013 – 387

Keeping tabs on Thursday's morning commute

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: November 13, 2014 - 5:33 AM

Good morning, commuters!

The Thursday morning rush hour begins with lingering road work on northbound I-494 at 47th Avenue in Plymouth.

Beware of slick spots. The State Patrol is responding to two vehicles off the road on northbound I-35 in the Elko New Market area, exit 76.

Later this morning, eastbound I-94 will be down a lane between Huron Blvd. and Hwy. 280. through Nov. 24. One exception, the fourth lane will be open between 3 and 6 p.m. on weekdays to accommodate rush hour traffic.-- Scratch that.  This work has been pushed back until Friday.

The reason for the lane drop: MnDOT will be working on the noise wall on the south side of the freeway.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the roads and rails this morning, reporting any delays or issues — and I will need your help.

If you see or hear about any congestion, delays or problems, e-mail drive@startribune or tweet @stribdrive.

Keeping tabs on Wednesday's morning commute

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: October 29, 2014 - 5:23 AM

Good morning, commuters!

Wednesday starts with some overnight road work that has the left lane of northbound I-494 closed at Rockford Road. That is not causing any delays at present.

Northstar riders, Metro Transit says the first inbound run will operate on the outbound tracks. Be sure to head to the correct platform.  The morning outbound train will be delayed about 45 minutes at the Fridley Station due to track work.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the roads and rails this morning, reporting any delays or issues — and I will need your help.

If you see or hear about any congestion, delays or problems, e-mail drive@startribune or tweet @stribdrive.

6:20 a.m. update: Hwy. 61 shut down in Newport following semi rollover

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: October 21, 2014 - 6:24 AM

MnDOT says it will close northbound Hwy. 61 at I-494 as crews work to clean up a huge mess caused by a semitrailer truck that overturned just after 6 a.m.

All northbound traffic on Hwy. 61 is being diverted to eastbound 494.  The ramp from eastbound 494 to northbound Hwy. 61 also is closed.

The semi was carrying coal, which spilled across the highway. The truck also is leaking oil on the road.  This will be in place for the entire rush hour, so plan on major delays.

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