The Drive will keep you up to speed with the latest on Twin Cities commuting.

Study finds state's roads are getting better, but improvement still needed

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: September 23, 2014 - 1:45 PM

The condition of Minnesota's roads is still below average, but they are getting much better. That's according to the Reason Foundation's Annual Highway Report out last week.

Minnesota came in at No. 28 in terms of highway performance and cost-effectiveness. And while that places the state in the bottom half, it's a huge jump from five years ago when the Gopher state ranked No. 42.  In 2011, the state ranked 31st.

"Minnesota is slowly improving on most items across the board," said David Hartgen, professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte who has been doing the report since 1984."Minnesota has been in the middle of the pack and is starting to move up, but that's not something that can be done overnight or in one season."

Hartgen said the state's road conditions are considerably better than 10 years ago, accessibility is better and congestion has leveled off.

Minnesota scored best with its low fatality rate, coming in at No. 2 with .69 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

The state earned high marks for the low number of deficient bridges coming in 5th and ranking 6th in terms of the low number of narrow rural arterial lanes.

On the opposite end of the scale, the state faired poorly in terms of urban pavement condition (No. 43) and rural interstate pavement condition, 37th. 

The Reason Foundation's report is based on spending and performance data submitted by state highway agencies to the federal government for 2012. It found that Wyoming had the best roads, followed by Nebraska, South Dakota, South Carolina and Kansas.  North Dakota came in at No. 6, Wisconsin No. 15 and Iowa at No. 18.

The states with the worst highway conditions were California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Alaska and Hawaii.

12th Avenue bridge over 494 closes Tuesday

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: September 23, 2014 - 10:10 AM

Come Tuesday, motorists who use 12th Avenue to cross Interstate 494 in Bloomington will need to use a different route.

The bridge will be closed through Oct. 10 to allow crews to make repairs, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.

Here is the recommended and signed detour from MnDOT:

Southbound driver will detoured to westbound 77th Street, then south on Portland Avenue and east on American Blvd.
Northbound traffic will be detoured to westbound American Boulevard, then north on Portland Avenue and east on 77th Street.

The work is part of a larger project on Cedar Avenue and I-494 that includes, reconstructing the northbound Cedar Avenue bridge deck over I-494, repairing the southbound Cedar Avenue bridges over I-494, and installing new lighting on Cedar Avenue.


9 a.m. update: Rush hour wrap up

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: September 23, 2014 - 9:01 AM

Tuesday's rush hour delivered long drive times for commuters in both the northwest metro and in the south through Edina and Bloomington, courtesy of crashes and congestion.

At present, southbound 35E is wins the award for the slowest traffic as a semi and car have collided in the left lane at Hwy. 36. That has traffic at a near standstill back to I-694.

In Maple Grove, traffic bunches up on eastbound 94 near Maple Grove Parkway and again to the east near a crash at Zane Avenue.  Earlier, road work led to a major backup from Albertville to Rogers as the left lane at the Crow River was blocked for overnight road work. That cleared just before 7 a.m.

In Chaska, a tanker landed in the center median just after 6:30 a.m. and it's still there. That clogged traffic near Powers Blvd.

Southbound 35E and 35W in the nothern suburbs crawled for most of the rush. On 35W, wrecks at County 10 and County I gummed things up making for a 30 to 35-minute trip from the Forest Lake Split to downtown Minneapolis during the peak travel period.  That is now down to 25 minutes.

Eastbound Hwy. 10 was slower than normal between 7 and 8:15 a.m. as a crash at County Road J along with the mishaps ahead on 35W crammed things up.

On a happier note, northbound 169 from 494 to Bren Road opened after a three-month closure for road work. Northbound Hwy. 65 from 694 to Hwy. 10 also reopened through Fridley and Spring Lake Park.

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

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: September 23, 2014 - 8:48 AM

Here are some current travel times:

North metro

Southbound 35W from 95th Avenue to downtown Minneapolis: 20 minutes

Southbound 35E from County 96 to I-94: 22 minutes.

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

Westbound 694 from 35E to Hwy. 252: 14 minutes. Eastbound is 10 minutes.

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Crow River to 494: 26 minutes

Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 12 minutes

Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 21 minutes

Southbound Hwy. 610 from I-94 to Crosstown: 26 minutes

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

South metro

Northbound 35W from County 42 to Crosstown: 12 minutes    To downtown Minneapolis: 23 minutes.

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

Northbound 35E from County 42 to downtown St. Paul: 17 minutes

Northbound 169 from Canterbury Road to 494: 9 minutes

Eastbound Hwy. 212 from Powers Blvd. to Crosstown: 10 minutes

Westbound 494 from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 100: 10 minutes.  Eastbound 494 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 15 minutes

Westbound Crosstown from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 169: 11 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 15 minutes

East metro

Westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul: 17 minutes

Westbound 94 from 35E to the Lowry Hill Tunnel: 17 minutes.

Westbound Hwy. 36 from Edgerton Street to 35W: 15 minutes.

8:30 a.m. update: Bad crash in Andover

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: September 23, 2014 - 8:33 AM

Rescue workers are trying to get a couple people out of a vehicle that was involved in a crash at Bunker Lake Blvd. and Jay Street in Andover. Look for lots of activity at that intersection.

On the mainline, eastbound 94 continutes to be a slow slog from Hwy. 101 to the Maple Grove Split.  A crash ahead at Brooklyn Blvd. is also gumming things up. It's 25 minutes from Hwy. 101 to Brooklyn Center.

Here are our other crashes that are still in progress:

  • Northbound 35E at Hwy. 36 in the construction zone
  • Westbound 494 near 24th Avenue. Look for delays starting at Pilot Knob Road
  • Northbound I-35 at County Road 22 in northern Anoka County
  • Car overheating on right shoulder of westbound 694 at Silver Lake Road.  Westbound also remains jammed from Hwy. 61 over to 35W
  • Tanker is stuck in the median on eastbound Hwy. 212 at Powers Blvd.


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