Meanwhile the grand opening of the Twin Cities Premium Outlet Mall in Eagan continues through Sunday, and of course, road construction season rolls on with a spate of work projects across the metro area.
If you drink, don't drive. Law enforcement will be stepping up its efforts to catch drunk drivers as a safe and sober campaign runs through the end of the month.
Fans heading to this weekend's preseason Vikings game won't have to fight rush hour traffic to get to TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota where the team takes on Arizona at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Expect ramp jams on I-94 at Huron Blvd. and on I-35W at the University Avenue/4th Street exits, the two main ways to get to campus from the freeways.
Here are a few tips from the folks at the University Parking and Transportation Services: Because of limited road capacity around the stadium, fans should anticipate that streets around campus will be congested for about one hour after the game. Incidents on the roadways or freeways can increase exiting time. On game days, drivers should anticipate congestion and delays while traveling to and around campus. Carpooling and using transit are highly recommended. Here is parking information.
Metro Transit will have its hands full both this weekend as both the Twins and the Vikings have home games on Saturday night. Northstar trains for the 6:10 p.m. Twins-Royals game will leave Big Lake at 4:23 p.m. A train for Vikings fans will leave Big Lake at 5:13 p.m. The Lynx game against the Tulsa Shock begins at 7 p.m. at Target Center.
Look for extra activity, lane restrictions and lower speed limits on Hwy. 169 in the vicinity of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee. This is the first of seven weekends featuring themed entertainment on 16 stages. This weekend's offerings include the World Amateur Highland Games, a kilt competition and a keg toss.
Outlet mall in Eagan
Extra time will likely be needed to get into and out of the new outlet mall at Hwy. 13 and Cedar Avenue. Directional signs will help guide you, but be prepared for lots of traffic. You can see travel tips in my Thursday blog post. To make it easy, Metro Transit is offering free rides on the Blue Line. The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) is offering free rides on the Red and routes 437, 438, 440, 444, 445 , 472 and 475. You need to download a coupon to ride fare free.
And now onto road construction:
Metro area road work
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.
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.
University Avenue/4th Street ramp near the U of M
A detour is in place for drivers who use the ramp to access northbound 35W. It is closed for a couple weeks in conjunction with a project to build an auxiliary lane from University Avenue to Johnson Street. Here's how to get onto northbound 35W:
Take 10th Avenue north to Johnson Street, then east on Broadway Street to the New Brighton Blvd ramp to northbound 35W.
MnDOT will open the ramp for a couple hours Saturday following the Vikings game to help get traffic off campus.
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.
Look for the flyover bridge from northbound 35W to 3rd Street and downtown Minneapolis to close next week.
Northbound Hwy 65 between Medtronic Parkway/Old Central Avenue and County Road 10 is closed and detoured.
The County Road 152/Brooklyn Boulevard Bridge is closed to motorists and pedestrians through mid-October.
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.
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
The ramp closures and lane restrictions near Mall of America go into effect at 8 p.m. Saturday. Here is the impact:
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.
Cedar Avenue will remain open, but MnDOT says motorists need to be on the look out for traffic switches, narrow lanes and construction between 66th Street and Old Shakopee Road.
The ramp from westbound I-94 to northbound I-35E is also closed for another couple weeks. 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:
The southbound I-35W ramp to westbound Hwy 13 is closed through late fall as part of a Dakota County project.
This should be the last weekend for lane closures on eastbound I-494 on the Wakota Bridge between Hardman Avenue in South St Paul and Maxwell Avenue in Newport. The freeway will be reduced to two lanes.
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
We've had this one in placea couple weeks, but incase you are coming into town for any of the above events or coming back from the Renaissance Festival, here's your reminder: 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.
The next installment of the Minneapolis Open Streets events to promote healthy living, local businesses, sustainable transportation and civic pride in Minneapolis features music, entertainment and vendors. Franklin Avenue will be closed from Portland Avenue to 28th Avenue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Lung Run and Walk will take place on Lake Harriet Pkwy. from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday.
On Sunday, the YWCA Women’s Triathlon will have Nokomis, Minnehaha and West River parkways out of service from 7 to 11 a.m.
For those curious, the 1-mile segment of West River Parkway, between 4th St. S and Franklin Ave, will remain closed to vehicle and pedestrian / bicycle traffic for the foreseeable future. The Minneapolis Park Board says soil tests confirm that the parkway slope remains unstable following those heavy June rainfalls.
Vikings fans will be flocking to Mankato this weekend where the team is holding training camp at Minnesota State University. Those heading from the metro area via Hwy. 169 will find single lane in each direction from Hwy. 112 in Le Sueur to Hwy. 99 in St. Peter. Naturally that is because of road work.
And the Aquatennial fireworks show is a crowd pleaser and traffic generator. The pyrotechnics fire up at 10 p.m. Saturday over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis . Pre-show events on West River Parkway begin at 6 p.m.
As you move about this weekend, MnDOT says there will be plenty of road construction to navigate around, but the good news is there are no full-out closures.
For transit riders, Metro Transit says no disruptions are anticipated on the Blue, Green or Red light-rail lines. Buses will be on detour only in road construction zones.
Here is what to watch out for.
Brooklyn Blvd. at Hwy. 100
Both directions of Brooklyn Blvd. will be closed at Hwy. 100 in Brooklyn Center as work on the new overpass continues. Ramps to and from Hwy. 100 will remain open. The project will last until October.
Hwy. 65 in Spring Lake Park/Fridley
For another three weeks or so, the southbound lanes of Hwy. 65 from County Road 10 to Medtronic Parkway remain closed as highway pavement and improvement projects continue. Once the southbound lanes are finished, work will switch to the northbound lanes and last into the fall.
MnDOT tells the Drive that this will be the last weekend for this closure between the Crosstown and Valley View Road. That section of the highway will open Monday if all goes according to plan.
What happens then? The northbound lanes from I-494 to Bren Road shut down until October so MnDOT can resurface the highway and build a new overpass at the Crosstown.
Hwy. 61 in White Bear Lake
A repaving project will have Hwy. 61 bogged down between White Bear Avenue and north of Hwy. 96 until fall. It's one lane in each direction.
I-494 at the Wakota Bridge
This one could cause a few issues for motorists. Two eastbound lanes between Hardman Avenue and Maxwell Avenue in the South St. Paul and Newport area could squeeze traffic from 7 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. These lane closures will reappear for the following two weekends.
Hwy. 55/52 in Inver Grove Heights and Eagan
Watch out for lane closures and traffic backups on Hwy. 55 between the east and west junctions of Hwy. 149. Also, the left lane of Hwy. 149 between I-494 and Hwy. 55 is closed. If rush hour is any indication, this is an area you might want to avoid, especially on Friday evening and Sunday evening. Hwy. 3 or 61 might work out much better.
I-35E in St. Paul and Maplewood
The big news here is that the new Larpenteur Bridge over 35E opened this week. That is helping the traffic flow a bit better in the area. Construction will continue into 2015 and be aware of the numerous ramp closures that are in place between Maryland Avenue and Little Canada Road.
Ramps closed until late October include:
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.
Special events have some parkways closes, and resurfacing will affect drivers motoring about on city parkways.
On Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, all of Lake Calhoun Pkwy. will be closed for the American Red Cross Run for Blood
The aforementioned Aquatennial takes over West River Pkwy. between 4th Avenue S. and Portland Avenue for the Carifest celebration and pre-fireworks fun. Closures will be in effect Saturday from noon to 11:30 p.m.
West River Parkway remains closed until further notice from S. 4th Street to Franklin Avenue. That's related to the mudslide that occurred a few weeks ago.
Be ready for closures on Cedar Lake Parkway between I-394 and Xerxes Avenue. Detours, no parking and road closures will be in place so please pay attention to any posted signage.
E. Minnehaha Parkway: Two sections of the parkway will be impacted, including Cedar Avenue to Longfellow Avenue. The other section will begin at Woodlawn and extend to 38th Avenue S. Both eastbound and westbound sides of the parkway will be impacted by this work. Detours, no parking and road closures will be in place so please pay attention to any posted signage.
Yesterday's Vikings game was a clunker, but at least we have the Minnesota Lynx.
Metro Transit will offer free rides to anybody who wants to venture downtown to celebrate with the 2013 WNBA Champions. There's a parade at 11:30 a.m. along Nicollet Mall from 12th Street to 7th Street, then left on 7th Street to Target Center.
To get a free ride to the parade and all the hoopla inside the Target Center at 12:15 p.m., you must down load a free ride pass here, http://www.metrotransit.org/lynx-free-rides. The pass is good from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
During the parade, Metro Transit routes that normally operate on Nicollet Mall will be retouted onto Grant, LaSalle and Hennepin avenues.