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.
Metro Transit has rolled out new Wi-Fi service on its Northstar Commuter trains. Service began with Monday's morning rush hour trips into downtown Minneapolis.
The free service will be available in at least one car on every run, said transit agency spokesman John Siqveland.
Trains often have four to six cars, so a a special decal that says "Free Wi-Fi on This Car" will be displayed both inside and outside the designated car. On most runs, the Wi-Fi service will be in what's known as the "Cab Car," the one furthest from the locomotive.
"Due to the longer distances traveled on commuter rail, Northstar service is a great match for Wi-Fi," said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb.
While the service is free, there will be some restrictions. Questionable content will be blocked and the size of downloads will be restricted as to now overwhelm the system and provide quality access to the largest number of customers, Siqveland said.
Passengers will be able to access the network by using TransitWi-FI. Once there, passengers can surf the net or click into "Sound of Point," an audio project produced by Minnesota Public Radio which narrates information and historical features along the route.
The Northstar line offers six weekday rush hour trips between Big Lake and downtown Minneapolis. It also has reduced runs on weekends and operates for special events such as Twins and Vikings games.
As of the end of August, Metro Transit has provided more than 538,000 rides on Northstar trains. That marks an increase of 16 percent over the same eight months in 2012.