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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.

Weekend traffic: Lane closures on I-94, 694 and 494

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: October 17, 2014 - 12:24 PM

While lane closures on freeways in downtown Minneapolis, Arden Hills and Plymouth have the potential to bring weekend backups, motorists on I-35E should find getting around much easier as lanes and ramps between Hwy. 36 and downtown St. Paul reopen following a long summer construction season.

The Gophers have a home football game at 11 a.m. Saturday against Purdue at TCF Bank Stadium. Motorists should anticipate congestion and delays while travelling to and around campus. And due to 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. Here is parking and transit information.

On the roads, Hwy. 65/Central Avenue remains closed between 14th and 18th Avenues NE. as construction on a new railroad bridge continues. Bridge construction also continues on the 94th Street Bridge over I-35W in Bloomington and the Brooklyn Blvd. over Hwy. 100 in Brooklyn Center.

Interstate 94 in downtown Minneapolis

MnDOT will have alternating lane closures on I-94 in both directions between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday between 11th Avenue and Groveland Avenue. However, the agency will have all westbound lanes open at 2 p.m. Saturday until football traffic leaving TCF Bank Stadium has cleared.

I-494 in Plymouth/Maple Grove

Prep work ahead of next summer's ambition freeway expansion project continues on I-494. MnDOT is warning motorists that they may encounter slow moving traffic as lanes are closed.

Here are the specifics: From 7 p.m. Friday until 2 p.m. Sunday, southbound will be reduced to a single lane from I-94 and County Road 47

From 7 p.m. Friday until 7 a.m. Monday, northbound will be down to two lanes from I-394 and Hwy. 55 and reduced to a single lane between Hwy. 55 and the Fish Lake Interchange.

The closures are necessary so crews can work on the crossovers and bypasses needed for a construction project slated to begin next year that includes adding a third lane to the interstate and building noise walls along the corridor.

I-694 in Arden Hills/Shoreview

MnDOT will be doing mill and overlay work - that's new pavement - so the westbound right lane will be closed from 8 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Monday between Victoria Street and Lexington Avenue.

I-35W at Hwy. 13

-35W ramps to westbound/southbound Hwy 13 in Burnsville

I-494 in Bloomington

You may have seen signs saying I-494 at Cedar Avenue was to close overnight Friday to Saturday morning. This has been cancelled. The closures will now take place in spring 2015 when surface temperatures are warm enough for crews to coat portions of the Cedar Avenue bridges over I-494 with a sealing application.

But there ongoing ramp closures at the interchange. The northbound Hwy. 77 ramps to and from I-494 are closed

Here are two other roads with lane and ramp closures

  • I-35E area. For a full list of closures visit the I-35E corridor projects website.
  • Hwy 61 in White Bear Lake - Single lane between White Bear Avenue and north of Hwy 96.


I-35E in St. Paul and Maplewood

In case you missed it, the third lane on northbound I-35E from I-94 up to Maryland Avenue opened Friday morning. Here is the status on ramps that will open along the corridor between Little Canada Road and Maryland Avenue.

Little Canada Road to southbound I-35E to open early Tuesday.
Southbound I-35E to eastbound Hwy 36 to open early Tuesday.
Westbound and eastbound Hwy 36 to southbound I-35E to open early Tuesday.
Roselawn Avenue to southbound I-35E to open early Tuesday.
Maryland Avenue to northbound I-35E to open Saturday.
Northbound I-35E to Roselawn Avenue to open Saturday.
Roselawn Avenue to northbound I-35E to open Saturday.
Northbound I-35E to westbound Hwy 36 to open Saturday.
Northbound I-35E to eastbound Hwy 36 to open Saturday.
Westbound and eastbound Hwy 36 to northbound I-35E to open Saturday.
Northbound I-35E to Little Canada Road to open Saturday.

Next week, more traffic changes will go into effect:

The ramp to westbound I-94 closes by morning rush-hour Monday. During the ramp closure, a posted detour will direct motorists to use southbound Jackson Street and westbound 12th Street to access westbound I-94.

The ramp is expected to remain closed until summer 2015. The closure will allow crews to construct and open a temporary exit ramp from southbound I-35E to 12th Street. The temporary exit ramp to 12th Street is anticipated to be complete and open to the public by late December.

Keeping tabs on Monday's morning commute

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: October 13, 2014 - 5:19 AM

Good morning, commuters!

With today being a holiday, we may see lighter levels of traffic as some government and city offices are closed.

In celebration of Columbus Day, also known as Indigenous Peoples Day, parking meters in Minneapolis, but they will be in force in St. Paul.  Meters along Minneapolis Parkways and at the U will also be enforced today.

Good news for drivers on Cretin Avenue in St. Paul.  They city says the repaving project between Summit to Ford Parkway, and from I-94 to Marshall Avenue should wrap up today.

And for Hwy. 100 drivers, the bridge work over the weekend has wrapped up and all lanes in both directions are back open.

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 Tuesday's morning commute

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: October 7, 2014 - 5:31 AM

Good morning, commuters!

It's nearly back to full strength as all but one overnight road project have wrapped up.

All lanes are back open on I-35W in Bloomington between 90th and 98th Street and in Minneapolis in the area of University Avenue, on I-35E in St. Paul between I-94 and Maryland Avenue, and on Hwy. 100 in Golden Valley and St. Louis Park. Bridge and maintenance work had lanes shut down over night in the aforementioned locations.

Crews still have the left lane blocked on northbound 494 at I-394. That will likely be in place until 7 a.m.

Look out for intermittent and alternating lane closures on Hwy. 61 in White Bear Lake between County Road 95 and County Road 96.

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.

Fatal car crashes on Labor Day weekend were at five year low; DWI arrests down, too

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: September 10, 2014 - 1:50 PM

Minnesota recorded its lowest number of traffic-related fatalities over a Labor Day weekend in the past five years with one death recorded between 6 p.m. Aug. 29 and 6 a.m. Sept. 2, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Angela J. Pangelinan, 48, of Moorhead, was injured in a motorcycle crash on Aug. 30 on Interstate 94 near County Road 9 in Clay County and died a six days later, the State Patrol said.

Labor Day weekend is among the most dangerous times to be on the road, and over the past five years an average of five people have died during the 78-hour period around the holiday.  Those numbers were four in 2008, two in 2009, five in 2010, six in 2011, five in 2012 and four in 2013.

This would have been the first time since Minnesota started keeping crash data in 1970 that nobody died in a traffic-related crash on Labor Day weekend.

The number of drunk driving arrests also was down. Preliminary reports from 413 agencies show that 1,340 motorists were cited during a DWI enforcement campaign from Aug. 16 through Labor Day. That compared with 1,556 in 2013 and 1,872 in 2012.

"Fewer motorists getting arrested for impaired driving is a sign that more people are making safer choices behind the wheel,” said Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske. “Planning for a sober ride can be a life-saver because it doesn't’t take a high alcohol level to have serious consequences on the road.” 

In Minnesota, drivers with a blood-alcohol content of .08 percent or higher can be arrested for DWI. During the two-week sweep, five motorists who were arrested had a BAC of .3 percent or higher, the DPS said.

Men made up most of those tagged for drunk driving, but it's becoming more common for women to be arrested. Last year, 25 percent of incidents, up from just 5 percent 10 years ago.

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