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394 reopens after police activity on overpass caused major backup

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 22, 2014 - 9:06 AM

Interstate Hwy. 394 reopened shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, after police activity on an overpass had caused a massive traffic jam for hours.

The police activity began to unfold on I-394 right around 6 a.m.  Authorities shut down the westbound lanes from downtown Minneapolis to Penn Avenue and the eastbound HOT lanes from Hwy. 100 to downtown Minneapolis.

Additionally, one of the eastbound 394 lanes was blocked at Penn Avenue, which led to a massive traffic jam that at its worst stretched back to General Mills Blvd.

Some drivers on westbound 394 were stuck on the freeway for two hours until just after 8:30 a.m. when they were allowed to pass. The lanes then were closed again.  Other drivers were allowed to turn around and get off the freeway by driving the wrong way the on ramp at Dunwoody Blvd. as directed by police.

The incident had a wide ripple effect, leading to gridlock conditions on several arteries that feed into downtown. Northbound 35W was knotted up from Crosstown to downtown Minneapolis while westbound 94 was stopped from Hwy. 280 to downtown.  Both of those routes are starting to see some improvement at this hour.

Alternate routes, Hwy. 55 and Glenwood Avenue absorbed some of the 394 traffic and that made those routes bog down during the heart of the rush. Transit even used alternate routes to get around the mess on 394.

At about 9:50 a.m., Minneapolis police reported that the situation on the overpass had been resolved and all 394 lanes were reopened.

Elsewhere, I-694 had a traffic tieup around 8 a.m. with crashes eastbound at Silver Lake Road and westbound at East River Road.

And the rush hour got off to a violent start when a vehicle ran off a freeway ramp in Fridley and rolled several times. The incident occurred at 4:15 a.m. on the ramp from eastbound 694 to East River Road.

All five people riding in the vehicle were injured and taken to hospitals, the State Patrol said.

That incident had the ramp closed for two hours, but it was not the worst traffic tangler of the morning.

8:45 a.m. update: One lane now open on westbound 394

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 22, 2014 - 8:46 AM

After a 2-hour closure, one lane of traffic is now being allowed to pass under the Penn Avenue overpass. MnDOT also says the ramp from southbound 94 to westbound 394 has reopened.

Eastbound 394 is still stacked up from General Mills Blvd. into downtown Minneapolis.

The HOT lanes from Hwy. 100 to downtown Mpls remain closed. 

Northbound 35W is still tight from Crosstown to downtown Minneapolis. 

Westbound 94 is crammed from Huron Blvd. to the Lowry Hill Tunnel.

7:45 a.m. update: Major mess in downtown Minneapolis

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 22, 2014 - 7:44 AM

As we have been telling you, police activity has the westbound lanes of I-394 closed at Penn Avenue. That is causing a major disruption for 394 in both directions along with feeder routes.

Westbound 94 becomes crammed at Cedar Avenue through the Lowry Hill Tunnel. Southbound 35W comes to a crawl at Hiawatha Avenue and is jammed through the downtown commons.

Northbound 35W is stacking up from the I-94 exits back to 50th Street. 

Southbound 94 is parked from Broadway through the Lowry Hill Tunnel, and the off ramps to 394 and Lyndale Avenue are going nowhere fast.

Eastbound 394 is creeping along from Louisiana Avenue to downtown.  Two lanes are open at Penn Avenue, but the HOT lanes are blocked at Hwy. 100.

It's a major mess all over.

7:35 a.m. update: Current travel times

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 22, 2014 - 7:36 AM

The ramp from eastbound 694 to East River Road is back open now that a rollover crash from this morning has been cleared.  Five people were injured in the mishap around 4:15 a.m.  All were taken to the hospital, the State Patrol said.

The current drama playing out is on I-394. The westbound lanes are shut down from downtown Minneapolis to Penn Avenue.  Eastbound lanes are reduced to two at Penn Avenue and that has traffic knotted up at Louisiana Avenue.  The HOT lanes are closed at Hwy. 100.

Here are some current travel times:

North metro

Southbound 35W from 95th Avenue to downtown Minneapolis: 18 minutes

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

Eastbound Hwy. 10 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 13 minutes

Westbound 694 from 35E to Hwy. 252: 10 minutes. Eastbound is 11 minutes.

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 10 minutes

Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 13 minutes

Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 13 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 169 from I-94 to Crosstown: 12 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 100 from I-94 to Crosstown: 15 minutes

South metro

Northbound 35W from County 42 to Crosstown: 10 minutes    To downtown Minneapolis: 18 minutes.

Northbound Cedar Avenue from 35E to the Crosstown: 13 minutes

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

Northbound 169 from Canterbury Road to 494: 12 minutes

Eastbound Hwy. 212 from Dell Road to Crosstown: 10 minutes

Westbound 494 from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 100: 7 minutes.  Eastbound 494 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 5 minutes

Westbound Crosstown from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 169: 9 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 7 minutes

East metro

Westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul: 16 minutes

Westbound 94 from 35E to the Lowry Hill Tunnel: 10 minutes.

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

7:20 a.m. update: Police activity continues on 394

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 22, 2014 - 7:20 AM

Traffic is an absolute mess along I-394 in both directions between Hwy. 100 and downtown Minneapolis due to police activity at Penn Avenue.

In the past few minutes, the ramps from Dunwoody Blvd. are being closed to allow westbound traffic to go the wrong direction to get off the freeway.  Some of those commuters have been stuck since the incident started unfolding just before 6 a.m.

All westbound lanes remained closed. Eastbound traffic is jammed from west of Hwy. 100 as the HOT lanes are out of service.  Additionally only two lanes are open at Penn Avenue in the general purpose lanes.  Plan on a 5 to 7 minute delay.

The ordeal is also creating congestion on westbound 94 from Portland Avenue up to Hwy. 55. 

Elsewhere look for a wreck on southbound 494 at Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove, and a minor set back to go with it.

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