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Weekend traffic: Your Labor Day travel guide to getting around

Posted by: Tim Harlow under On the road Updated: August 29, 2014 - 9:23 AM

Labor Day weekend brings the last long weekend of the summer season and nearly 30 million Americans will take advantage by hitting the roads, the highest total since the recession of 2008, AAA says. Another 2.65 million will get away by air.

With that many cars on the road, expect popular getaway routes to be plugged up Friday afternoon and again on Sunday evening and Monday.  The good news is that gas prices should be at their lowest price on a Labor Day weekend since 2010, according to AAA.

The National Safety Council predicts 400 deaths and 42,000 injuries due to crashes. To that end, the council reminds motorists to refrain from using cell phones will driving, that all occupants wear seat belts and have a designated driver if alcohol is part of the weekend celebration.

Law enforcement will out looking for drunk drivers as a "Safe and Sober" campaign  And on Sunday they also will be enforcing the "Move Over Law," which requires motorists to move over a lane when passing squads and other emergency vehicles that have their flashing lights on.

The State Fair continues through Monday and the Renaissance Festival runs Saturday through Monday in Shakopee.

Metro Transit and Minnesota Valley Transit Authority buses, including routes 440, 444 and 445, will operate on a holiday schedule on Monday. Blue Line and Green Line trains will, too. No Northstar service.

Maple Grove Tranist will have two buses assigned back to back on the Route 781 p.m. trips 1, 2, 3, and Route 785 pm trip #1 to accomodate commuters returning home early for the Labor Day Weekend. No bus service on Monday.

On the roads, MnDOT says the ramp from westbound I-94 to northbound 35E in downtown St. Paul will open by the end of the day Friday. It's been closed for a month. And be extra cautious in work zones, including I-94 between Hwy. 101 in Rogers and Hwy. 241 in St. Michael. Road work in the area could slow traffic. In Monticello, lanes narrow and shift around in a construction zone between County Roads 18 and 75. The speed limit has been lowered to 55 mph. in the area so expect slow traffic.

Here is this weekend list of road projects in the metro area:

I-35E in St. Paul

The ramp from westbound I-94 to northbound I-35E is also closed for another week. 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:

  • Little Canada Road to southbound I-35E
  • Southbound I-35E to eastbound Highway 36
  • Westbound and eastbound Highway 36 to southbound I-35E
  • Roselawn Avenue to southbound I-35E
  • Maryland Avenue to northbound I-35E
  • Northbound I-35E to Roselawn Avenue
  • Roselawn Avenue to northbound I-35E
  • Northbound I-35E to westbound Highway 36
  • Northbound I-35E to eastbound Highway 36
  • Westbound and eastbound Highway 36 to northbound I-35E
  • Northbound I-35E to Little Canada Road

Also note a lane closure on northbound 35E from I-94 to Maryland Avenue from 10 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.

Pennsylvania Avenue/Phalen Boulevard

Both directions of the road is closed at I-35E for two weeks. Motorists will be detoured to Jackson Street, University Avenue and Olive Street to bypass the closure. Once the road reopens, Pennsylvania Avenue/Phalen Boulevard will remain a single lane in each direction at I-35E through late 2015 for bridge construction.

I-35W and University Avenue/4th Street ramp near the U of M

Construction on northbound I-35W between the University Avenue/4th Street exit and Johnson Street continues. Prepare for slow traffic in the area as motorists navigate lane shifts and periodic closures. But some good news is the ramp from 4th Street and University to northbound 35W opened Thursday. The Hennepin Avenue ramp opened earlier this week.

Here are some of the impacts that remain:

  • Northbound I-35W between Washington Avenue and Hennepin Avenue will have periodic lane closures.
  • The three lanes of northbound I-35W between University Ave Northeast and the Johnson Street exit will remain open for the majority of the project, but will shift toward the center median.
  • The New Brighton Boulevard/Stinson Boulevard exit from northbound I-35W is closed. Motorists should use the Johnson Street exit. The New Brighton Boulevard/Stinson Boulevard exit will be closed permanently as crews reconfigure the Johnson Street ramp to serve Johnson Street, New Brighton Boulevard and Stinson Boulevard.

4th Street in downtown Minneapolis

This street closed from I-35W to Washington/Cedar Avenue until late September as crews reconstruct the road and new turn lanes for northbound I-35W entrance ramp.. 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.

In heads-up, MnDOT will close the flyover bridge from northbound 35W to 3rd Street and downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Hwy. 55 in Eagan

The section of highway between Lone Oak Road and the north intersection of  Hwy. 149 will have alternating lane closures through November. That means single lane in each direction.

Also in the area, Hwy. 149 will be single lane between I-494 and Hwy. 55.

Northbound Hwy 65 in Fridley, Spring Lake Park

Northbound Hwy 65 between Medtronic Parkway/Old Central Avenue and County Road 10 is closed and detoured.

Brooklyn Boulevard Bridge over Hwy 100

The County Road 152/Brooklyn Boulevard Bridge is closed to motorists and pedestrians through mid-October.

Hwy 61 in White Bear Lake

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.

Hwy 101 and County Road 144 in Rogers

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

Mall of America shoppers and those passing by on Cedar Avenue will need to be on alert for traffic switches, narrow lanes and construction between 66th Street and Old Shakopee Road.

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.

Southbound I-35W ramp to westbound Hwy 13

The southbound I-35W ramp to westbound Hwy 13 is closed through late fall as part of a Dakota County project.

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.

94th Street Bridge over I-35W in Bloomington

The 94th Street bridge over I-35W in Bloomington is closed through mid-October. Ramps to and from northbound 94th are expected to be back open by Friday evening, MnDOT says. The southbound I-35W ramps to and from 94th Street will remain closed through mid-September

Hwy. 169 in Edina

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.

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 and a few changes go into effect Friday.

  • The ramp from westbound Hwy 7 to northbound Louisiana Avenue will open.
  • Walker Street will open east of Louisiana Avenue and close west of Louisiana Avenue.
  • Lake Street will open east of Louisiana Avenue and closed west of Louisiana Avenue.

Hwy. 36 in east metro

This long-running project has the road down to a single lane through Oak Park Heights and Stillwater from Hwy. 5 to Hwy. 95.

I-694 ramp to southbound 35E in Little Canada

The exit ramp is closed. Road maintenance work is in progress.Expect delays through the completion of the project set for Sept. 19.

Traffic will detour east on I-694 to Hwy. 61 and use the loops to return westbound to southbound I-35E.

Minneapolis Parkways

The Minnesota Distance Running Association takes over Webber Parkway and Victory Memorial Drive on Monday from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

9 a.m. update: Rush hour wrap up

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 29, 2014 - 9:02 AM

Friday's rush hour served up quick trips to work as traffic volumes remained light ahead of the three-day Labor Day weekend.

That kept drive times very respectible, even on routes prone to congestion.

Wet roads did, however, lead to a few mishaps, including a three-car crash in the pre-dawn hours on the ramp from eastbound 94 to southbound 35W in downtown Minneapolis. One of the vehicles hit a light pole, which fell and blocked the ramp. At times, motorists were cutting across the median to get by the wreckage.

A rollover on Hwy. 36 at Hwy. 61 and a vehicle that went off the westbound 694 ramp to Hwy. 252 may have been a result of slippery ramps. One other car off the road this morning happened on eastbound Hwy. 10 at County J.

MnDOT crews had to repair the gate arms that control entry into the I-394 HOT lanes. The arms were stuck in the down postion until just before 7 a.m.

With testing complete on the tracks, Northstar trains ran without incident. No problems on other buses or BRT lines were reported.

8:30 a.m. update: Current drive times

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 29, 2014 - 8:31 AM

Law enforcement has the right shoulder blocked on eastbound Hwy. 10 at County Road J as a tow truck attempts to pull a vehilce out of deep ravine.

Elsewhere, vehicles are zipping right along as light levels of traffic are making for a nice commute. We do have a slow pocket of traffic on northbound 35W from Diamond Lake Road to downtown Minneapolis. That will take 9 minutes.

Look out for construction on northbound 35W at Industrial Blvd. The left lane is out of service.

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: 9 minutes.

Eastbound Hwy. 10 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 11 minutes

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

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 11 minutes

Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 8 minutes

Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 9 minutes

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

Southbound Hwy. 100 from I-94 to Crosstown: 13 minutes

South metro

Northbound 35W from County 42 to Crosstown: 9 minutes    To downtown Minneapolis: 18 minutes.

Northbound Cedar Avenue from 35E to the Crosstown: 10 minutes

Northbound 35E from County 42 to downtown St. Paul: 18 minutes

Northbound 169 from Canterbury Road to 494: 9 minutes

Eastbound Hwy. 212 from Dell Road to Crosstown: 11 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: 7 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 6 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: 5 minutes.

8:15 a.m. update: Three-car crash on Hwy. 110

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 29, 2014 - 8:17 AM

Commuters are swerving around a three-vehicle crash blocking the left lane on eastbound Hwy. 110 at 35E.

We've also got activity in the right ditch on eastbound Hwy. 10 at 35W. Men in yellow vests are milling around what could be a car off the road.

Look for a pocket of slow traffic on eastbound 94 at Zane Avenue. A truck is blocking the left shoulder.

And southbound 35W is dealing with a crash at 66th Street.

8 a.m. update: Current drive times

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: August 29, 2014 - 8:01 AM

Look out for a stall blocking the left lane of westbound Hwy. 10 at the split with westbound Hwy. 610 in Coon Rapids.

The crash on northbound 35W at 106th Street is off to the right and delays are limited to the immediate area.

Look for a slow down on eastbound 94 past Zane Avenue. A broken down truck is on the left shoulder there.

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: 9 minutes.

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

Westbound 694 from 35E to Hwy. 252: 10 minutes. Eastbound is 12 minutes.

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 9 minutes

Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 6 minutes

Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 9 minutes

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

Southbound Hwy. 100 from I-94 to Crosstown: 13 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: 10 minutes

Northbound 35E from County 42 to downtown St. Paul: 18 minutes

Northbound 169 from Canterbury Road to 494: 8 minutes

Eastbound Hwy. 212 from Dell Road to Crosstown: 11 minutes

Westbound 494 from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 100: 7 minutes.  Eastbound 494 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 6 minutes

Westbound Crosstown from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 169: 11 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 6 minutes

East metro

Westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul: 15 minutes

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

Westbound Hwy. 36 from Edgerton Street to 35W: 7 minutes.

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