It's the week before Thanksgiving and hard to believe that we are still talking road construction, but we are. This weekend brings another closure of Hwy. 100 through Golden Valley, St. Louis Park and Edina, as well as lane closures in Plymouth and in St. Paul.
The Minnesota Wild are away, but the Timberwolves have home games on Friday and Saturday, which will bring extra traffic to downtown Minneapolis. And be ready for fans heading to TCF Bank Stadium for high school football. The Prep Bowl takes place Friday and Saturday at the University of Minnesota.
Sunday marks the Vikings' rematch with the Green Bay Packers. It's a noon kickoff at TCF Bank Stadium.
Fans who attended one of the team's previous home probably have their parking and transit routines down. For those making their first visit to the U, here are some parking tips for Vikings fans. Plan ahead as roads around the U will be most crowded about 2 hours prior to kickoff and 90 minutes following the game.
The U has plans in place to get fans on and off campus as efficiently as possible, but officials recommend taking transit to the game.
A number of Metro Transit bus routes connect to the Green Line. Blue Line riders can transfer to the Green Line at the Downtown East Station. Green Line trains stop right across the street from the stadium at Stadium Village. Another option is getting off at the East Bank Station and avoiding the throngs using Stadium Village. It's only a few block walk. Which ever stop you use, buy a 6-hour event pass to avoid standing in line at the vending machine after the game.
Northstar trains will operate for Sunday's game. Here is the schedule.
Highway 100 closure
For the second weekend in a row, crews will be demolishing a railroad bridge over Hwy. 100, and to do so they will shut down Hwy. 100 in both directions between I-394 and the Crosstown.
At 8:30 p.m. Friday, ramps along 100 between Crosstown and 394 will close, and at 10 p.m. the highway itself will be shut down. Lanes and ramps are supposed to be open by 5 a.m. Monday, MnDOT said.
During the closure, motorists will be detoured on I-394, Hwy. 169 and Crosstown. I-35W is another option. MnDOT say motorists should allow for extra travel time, watch for detour signs and find alternative routes.
Reconstructing the railway bridge is part of a 2 year construction project that will improve interchange safety and mobility on Highway 100, The project includes adding an auxiliary lane, reconfiguring and reconstructing the Minnetonka Boulevard and Hwy. 7 bridges and ramps, and building noise walls along the between Excelsior Blvd. and I-394.
I-494 in Plymouth
Look for the northbound side to be a single lane from Hwy. 55 up to I-94 from 7 p.m. Friday. until 5 p.m. Saturday.
I-35W in Minneapolis
Look for lane restrictions in both directions of the freeway in northeast Minneapolis. Northbound will be reduced to two lanes between 3rd Street and Johnson Street at 6 p.m. Friday and to a single lane starting at 8. Work will continue until 11:45 p.m. Saturday, so expect delays. Use Hwy. 280 as a good alternate.
Southbound lanes will be reduced to two lanes from Johnson Street to Hennepin Avenue from 7 p.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday.
In a bit of good news, the newly constructed 4th Street entrance ramp to northbound I-35W opens to traffic this weekend. Weather permitting, the ramp will open tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 22
I-35E in St. Paul
Today in St. Paul, southbound I-35E will reduced to a single lane between Maryland Avenue and I-94 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. MnDOT says motorists should expect significant delays and should leave early or use alternative routes, if possible.
Also, the ramp from southbound I-35E to University Avenue will close until summer 2015 for area reconstruction. The suggested detour is to take westbound Pennsylania Avenue and southbound Jackson Street to access University Avenue
In case you have not heard, there's lots of talk about giving Penn Avenue a major makeover. The ideas being floated through the Penn Avenue Community Works project include a new Arterial Bus Rapid Transit line and reconstructing the street through 10 neighborhoods between I-394 and 49th Avenue N. to better accommodate pedestrians, cars, trucks, buses and bicycles.
A final open house at which the public can help shape the final plans will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 19 at the North Regional Library, 1315 Lowry Avenue N. in Minneapolis. Feedback can also be submitted online.
Hennepin County is working in conjunction with the City of Minneapolis and Metro Transit to come up with the final plan that envisions the corridor as a Complete Street with sidewalks or trails and green space. One concept would have bike lanes and no on-street parking. Another would have on-street parking but no bike lanes. A third would retain bike lane and parking bays.
Here is one of the concepts that is being considered:
Metro Transit is proposing a new BRT Line, which would provide frequent service between Brooklyn Center Transit Center and downtown Minneapolis beginning in 2016. Known as the C-Line, buses would run every 10 minutes and stop only at stations every half mile along the line. Here is a map with the proposed stations. Service would begin in 2016.
At long last, construction on Hwy. 101 through Rogers and work on County Road 144 is complete. All lanes on both roads are scheduled to be open in time for the Wednesday morning rush hour, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.
This has been a tangle town for months as lanes have been closed and traffic detoured on occasion. For commuters who use Hwy. 101 to access I-94, this will be a welcome news.
The $14.6 million project included a new Diverging Diamond Interchange at County Road 144 and Hwy. 101. The relatively new type of interchange takes motorists from the right side of the road to the left before placing them in their normal lanes.
The diamonds are supposed to cut down on accidents as they allow for those making turns to do so without crossing paths with oncoming traffic. MnDOT also says the intersections help maximize traffic flow.
This is the second Diverging Diamond Interchange in the metro area. The first is at I-494 and 34th Avenue in Bloomington.
Pedestrians and bicyclists can use a new trail along County Road 144 and in the center of the diamond to cross.
New signs and lane markings will guide motorists through the area. And while the majority of the work is complete, occasional lane closings may occur as crews finish work along the highway, MnDOT said.
Nearly 25 percent of fans who went to the Vikings' two regular season home games took the Green Line to the game.
According to Metro Transit, 12,780 fans took the new light-rail line to TCF Bank Stadium for the Vikings vs. New England game on Sept. 14 and 12,737 did so on Sept. 28 when the team hosted Atlanta.
In both cases, that represented 24 percent of all fans who went to the game. Metro Transit says each fan counts as two rides - there and back.
Meanwhile, a scant 10 percent of fans who attended the Gophers' home game on Aug. 28 against Eastern Illinois used the Green Line. Only 9 percent did so for the Sept. 20 home game against San Jose State, according to Metro Transit.
This weekend, Oct. 11 and 12, both the Gophers and Vikings have home games. Here are the numbers provided by Metro Transit.
Fans who rode to game*
Percent of attendance
Meanwhile, ridership along the 11-mile line from downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis continues to soar. From Sept. 2-19, the average weekday ridership was 37,835. That is well above the 2014 projection of 26,638 riders and the 27,529 riders projected for 2015, said Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr.
From Sept. 2-19, the East Bank Station had the highest weekday ridership with an average of 5,093 rides. The U's West Bank station had the fourth highest ridership on the lin ewith 2,445 rides. The stop at Stadium Village has 1,733 riders.
In comparison, the highest number of weekday boardings on the Blue Line during the same period was at Terminal 2-Humphrey with an average of 3,041.
While no major freeway closings are on tap for the weekend, MnDOT will be reconfiguring Hwy. 169 over the Bloomington Ferry Bridge, which will have traffic in both directions down to a single lane in each direction. Naturally, there are plenty of other projects that could affect your travels in the metro area.
The weather should cooperate for outdoor activities, which include the Vikings game against the high-flying Atlanta Falcons. The kickoff is at 3:25 p.m. Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium. For those heading to the game, here's parking and transit info.
Also on tap is the National Alliance on Mental Illness walk Saturday at Minnehaha Park, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Saturday Target Field and the last weekend of the Renaissance Festival.
The Wild have a preseason game at the X in downtown St. Paul with the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night. Note: The Kellogg Blvd. bridge will be out of commission until Monday when it will reopen with fewer traffic lanes. Inspectors found deficiencies in the structure rendering the outside lanes unusable.
And here's something that doesn't happen every day. They're going to wash windows of a high rise on Dean Pkwy. in Minneapolis and close the road from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from Lake Street to the Mid-Town Greenway bridge.---THIS HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
Here is an update from the Minnesota Department of Transportation: The eastbound I-694 ramp to southbound I-35E in Little Canada is open and will not be closing this weekend.
Here's a list of roads that are closed for the weekend and beyond.
As I reported on the blog Wednesday, MnDOT is taking away the extra lanes that were added in June to help traffic flow when spring floods forced the closure of the Hwy. 101 and 41 crossings over the Minnesota River. That greatly increased traffic volume on Hwy. 169 until the reopened.
With the extra traffic, MnDOT reconfigured the highway between Hwy. 101 and Old Shakopee Road to handle the influx. With winter coming, MnDOT needs the shoulders for snow storage and to restore lanes to their normal width.
While crews repaint, northbound traffic will be a single lane between County Road 18 in Shakopee and Pioneer Trail in Bloomington from 4 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.
Southbound lanes will be single file from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, and then again Sunday evening until 5 a.m. Monday.
I-35W and University Avenue/4th Street ramp near the U of M
Construction on northbound I-35W between the University Avenue/4th Street exit and Johnson Street continues. Prepare for slow traffic in the area as motorists navigate lane shifts and periodic lane closures.
Here are some of the impacts that remain:
4th Street in downtown Minneapolis
This street closed from I-35W to Washington/Cedar Avenue until late September as crews reconstruct the road and new turn lanes for northbound I-35W entrance ramp.. 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.
12th Avenue bridge over 494 in Bloomington
Work began earlier this week on fixing the bridge. Repairs will continue through Oct. 10. Here's the recommended detours:
Southbound drivers will detoured to westbound 77th Street, then south on Portland Avenue and east on American Blvd.
Northbound traffic will be detoured to westbound American Boulevard, then north on Portland Avenue and east on 77th Street.
94th Street bridge over I-35W in Bloomington
The ramps to and from I-35W to 94th are back open, but the bridge over the freeway will be under construction for another month.
The County Road 152/Brooklyn Boulevard bridge is closed to motorists and pedestrians through late October. A new bridge deck is being built.
I-35E in St. Paul
The ramp from westbound 94 to northbound 35E opened last week, and that has made getting through St. Paul a tad easier. But we still have a lot of construction just north of downtown. Here is what is still shut down:
Hwy 61 between White Bear Avenue and north of Hwy 96 is reduced to a single lane. There are multiple streets that are closed where they intersect with Hwy 61.
Hwy. 77/Cedar Avenue in Bloomington
Various lanes will be closed and shifted near the Mall of America and I-494, so watch the signs. Additionally, northbound ramps to and from I-494 are closed through mid-October. Detour signs will be posted, but here they are:
Hwys. 149 and 55 in Eagan
The section of highway between Lone Oak Road and the north intersection of Hwy. 149 will have alternating lane closures through November. That means single lane in each direction. Also in the area, Hwy. 149 will be single lane between I-494 and Hwy. 55.
Kellogg Blvd. bridge in St. Paul
The bridge will close at 9 a.m. Friday. Public Works crews will use this time to restripe the bridge, put up new signage and other traffic devices. Signal timing also will be modified, the City said.
It will reopen at 6 a.m. Monday with traffic restricted to three lanes with a narrower path for pedestrians and cyclists to share.
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. Here is a heads up: New northbound lanes of Hwy. 101 opened this week, so don't rely on muscle memory to navigate the area.
Hwy. 36 in east metro
This long-running project has the road down to a single lane through Oak Park Heights and Stillwater from Hwy. 5 to Hwy. 95.
Hwy. 55 in Golden Valley
A CenterPoint Energy utility reconstruction project is scheduled to start Thursday, Sept 25 in Golden Valley along Winnetka Ave between Harold Ave and Golden Valley Rd. The three- to six-week project will have a significant impact on traffic due to lane shifts and closures, but full access will be maintained to all businesses and residents. Detours will be set up to encourage through-traffic to use Wisconsin Ave or Rhode Island Ave for Hwy 55 access
The southbound I-35W ramp to westbound Hwy 13 is closed through late fall as part of a Dakota County project.
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. Night and weekend lane shifts and closures on I-494 can be expected through November as crews remove the guardrails to reconstruct the road shoulders.