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Keeping tabs on Monday's morning commute

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 20, 2015 - 5:31 AM

Good morning, commuters!

It's a chilly one this morning and windy, too, so you'll want to keep both hands on the wheel.

And both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road if you are traveling on Hwy. 100 in St. Louis Park.  The highway is back open, but over the weekend MnDOT prepared to shift all traffic to the one side of the road lanes between Cedar Lake Road and 36th Street, leaving only two lanes in service in both directions. That will happen some time this morning.

The ramp from Hwy. 7 to northbound Hwy. 100 is now closed until the fall of 2016. Motorists will be able to access northbound Hwy. 100 at Excelsior Blvd. And Westside Drive is blocked off south of the car dealership to prevent motorists from cutting through the adjacent neighborhood.

A reminder that Snelling Avenue is down to a single lane in each direction at County Road E and the bridge over Snelling is closed until fall.

Downtown drivers will find 4th Street closed between Portland and Park Avenues in Minneapolis, and Kellogg Blvd. from Market to Wabasha Streets in St. Paul. Note that one if you are going to the Wild game tonight.

And the work along I-494 in Plymouth and Maple Grove continues between the Fish Lake Interchange and Hwy. 55.

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.

Weekend traffic: Another Hwy. 100 closure, and big changes ahead on Monday

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 17, 2015 - 11:31 AM

Let the real headaches begin for motorists who use Hwy. 100. This weekend the Minnesota Department of Transportation will close the highway to reconfigure a 2-mile segment through St. Louis Park.

When the highway reopens Monday morning, motorists will have only two lanes in each direction between Excelsior Blvd. and Cedar Lake Road with all traffic running on the current southbound lanes. Details on the weekend detour and next week's impact are below.

The Minnesota Twins try to extend their two-game winning streak with a weekend series with the Cleveland Indians at Target Field. Meanwhile a large USA Volleyball tournament Friday through Sunday at the Minneapolis Convention Center will bring extra traffic downtown.  In St. Paul, the Swarm has a home lacrosse match at the Xcel Energy Center.

A number of other road projects will affect travel this weekend. Here is a rundown:

Highway 100

This is the biggie for the weekend. The highway in both directions will be closed between I-394 and the Crosstown Hwy. 62 from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday.  Ramps leading to Hwy. 100 along that stretch will close at 9 p.m.

The official detour will route motorists along Crosstown Hwy. 62 to Hwy. 169 and I-394.

Come Monday, several notable changes will be in place for drivers attempting to access Hwy. 100.

The ramp from Hwy. 7 to northbound Hwy. 100 will be closed until the fall of 2016. Motorists will be able to access northbound Hwy. 100 at Excelsior Blvd.

In a traffic mitigation move, MnDOT is closing Westside Drive on the west side of Hwy. 100 south of the car dealership and there will be no access to Utica Avenue. The unscheduled closure is a result of too many drivers getting off Hwy. 100 to avoid the congestion and cutting through the adjacent neighborhood.  The advice from MnDOT is "stay on the road."  Motorists should use the Hwy. 7 and Excelsior Blvd. ramps to get to neighborhood streets.

The new detours and ramp closures are necessary to deter motorists from using local roads to bypass the congestion on the highway between Highway 7 and Minnetonka Boulevard and to bypass the congestion on Wooddale Ave and W Lake Street.

Here is the warning from MnDOT: Drivers who don't try to circumvent that advice will end up on roads that take them under Hwy. 100 and deposit them on the east side. It's not worth the hassle.

In addition to the ramp closure, the revised detour designated for the closure of Minnetonka Boulevard over Highway 100 will be Louisiana Avenue and Excelsior Boulevard..


Hwy. 51/Snelling Avenue in Arden Hills

The County Road E bridge over Snelling is coming down, and Snelling Avenue/Hwy.51 will be closed while demolition crews are at work. Here are the specifics closures to be in place from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday:

  • Southbound Snelling Avenue between County Road F and Hamline Avenue
  • Northbound Snelling Avenue between Hamline Avenue and the County Road E bridge over Snelling Avenue
  • All ramps at County Road E and Snelling Avenue

I-494 in Plymouth and Maple Grove

The rebuilding of I-494 from the Fish Lake Interchange down to Hwy. 55 continues. Two northbound lanes will be open and one southbound lane open Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon.  That's when MnDOT will slide the moveable barrier over to create a second southbound lane to accommodate folks returning from out of town. From Sunday afternoon until Monday afternoon, northbound traffic will be restricted to one lane.

Hwy. 5/W. 7th Street

The bridge over the Mississippi River is being redecked, and that has traffic operating on one side the current bridge. With lane closures in place from Ft. Snelling up to near Shepard Road, expect backups along W. 7th Street and onto the Mendota Bridge.  We saw that occur during this week's morning and afternoon rush hours.  Expect to add extra time if this is your route to the airport. 

Other ramps and roads in the immediate area of the Mississippi River bridge also are closed.

Also of note: One lane of westbound Hwy. 55 over the Mendota Bridge will be closed for maintenance work from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Fourth Street in downtown Minneapolis

A one block segment of 4th Street is closed between Portland Avenue and Park Avenue. The closure will be in effect until July, according to city officials.

Traffic will be detoured south on Portland Avenue to 6th Street, east on 6th to Park Avenue then north on Park back to 4th Street.  The bike lane also will be closed.

For commuters looking to access I-35W, rather than taking the six-block detour, it might be easier to just scoot over to Washington Avenue or use 4th Avenue S.  For drivers looking to get on westbound I-94, it might be just as easy to hit 3rd Street and leave on the west end of downtown.

Lane closures on I-35W in Minneapolis

Motorists using I-35W will find the freeway reduced to two lanes from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Crews will be working in the center median between Washington Avenue and Johnson Street.

Hwy. 52 south of the metro

Prepare for delays on both directions of Hwy. 52 between Hwy. 55 and 160th Street in Coates. Construction will have the left lane closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

8:45 a.m. update: Current drive times

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 17, 2015 - 8:48 AM

A stalled semi parked on the right shoulder of westbound 94 at Mounds Blvd. is the only incident impacting traffic at this hour.  But roads in the west metro are still clogged.

The north-south routes of I-494 and Hwy. 169 between Rockford Road and Minnetonka Blvd. are still a grind.   Highway 100 is slow in both directions between Cedar Lake Road and Excelsior Blvd.

Northbound 35W loses speeds from 46th Street into downtown Minneapolis.

Look for some activity on the shoulder of westbound 494 near Lyndale Avenue. Crews cleaning up animals on the road. Scanner chatter indicates two dead pigeons.

Here are some current travel times:

North metro

Southbound 35W from 95th Avenue to downtown Minneapolis: 15 minutes

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

Eastbound Hwy. 10 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 12 minutes

Westbound 694 from 35E to Hwy. 252: 9 minutes. Eastbound is 9 minutes.

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 9 minutes

Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 15 minutes

Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 10 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 169 from I-94 to Crosstown: 28 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 100 from I-94 to Crosstown: 19 minutes

South metro

Northbound 35W from County 42 to Crosstown: 11 minutes    To downtown Minneapolis: 21 minutes.

Northbound Cedar Avenue from 35E to the Crosstown: 9 minutes

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

Northbound 169 from Canterbury Road to 494: 7 minutes

Eastbound Hwy. 212 from Dell Road to Crosstown: 4 minutes

Westbound 494 from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 100: 8 minutes.  Eastbound 494 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 5 minutes

Westbound Crosstown from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 169: 11 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 10 minutes

East metro

Westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul: 11 minutes

Westbound 94 from 35E to the Lowry Hill Tunnel: 9 minutes.

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

Keeping tabs on Friday's morning commute

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 17, 2015 - 5:30 AM

Good morning, commuters!

The State Patrol is trying to stop a vehicle reported to be traveling the wrong way on eastbound I-694 in the vicinity of Silver Lake Road in New Brighton. Let's hope they stop this driver before anything serious happens. Nearly 400 people die each year from wrong-way driving, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Up in Lino Lakes, a pedestrain was walking in the northbound lanes of I-35W just south of the Forest Lake Split.

Traffic wise, levels are light at this time of the day. Be prepared for delays a bit later in the rush in the work zone along Hwy. 5/W. 7th Street in St. Paul, Hwy. 100 in St. Louis Park and along I-494 in Plymouth and Maple Grove.

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 Friday's morning commute

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: April 10, 2015 - 5:28 AM

Good morning, commuters!

It's cold enough out there that precipitation that fell Thursday and overnight is freezing on roads, ramps and bridge decks. Already there have been a handful of crashes and spin outs.

One of those happened just minutes ago on eastbound Hwy. 52 at the junction with Hwy. 55 in Inver Grove Heights. Word is Hwy. 52 is slippery through Dakota County so use caution if you are coming up from Hampton, Cannon Falls, Vermillion and Hastings.

Even in the immediate metro roads could be slick. Crashes on westbound I-94 at Century Avenue and McKnight Road cleared in the past few minutes.

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.

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