Good morning, commuters!
It's so nice being able to report that roads are in great shape and that we begin the rush hour accident free.
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.
Metro Transit confirmed Wednesday that six employees at the Hiawatha light-rail maintenance facility were disciplined for their role in dispensing prescription painkillers to an employee.
The punishment was just made public this week.
A rail maintenance and training supervisor was suspended for 90 days without pay and demoted for providing pills to a mechanic who no longer works for Metro Transit. A technician who did the same received an 18-month probationary warning.
Another supervisor was suspended for 60 days while a third supervisor was suspended for one week for failing to report the violation of company policy.
Two other technicians who work on light-rail vehicles also were written up, and one was put on probation.
Company officials said the four-month investigation yielded no information that public safety was compromised at any time and that the employee who received the pills did not work directly on light-rail vehicles.
Here is my blog from April 13, 2013
Metro Transit officials confirm that they are wrapping up a four-month investigation of employees at the Hiawatha light-rail maintenance facility in south Minneapolis.
A spokesman on Thursday told the Star Tribune that he was not able to give many details about the probe, which began in December and is likely to wrap up soon.
"We can't comment on the nature or the findings of the investigation at this point because it is not yet final," said Metro Transit spokesman John Siqveland. "Metro Transit takes this situation very seriously."
The agency did not say which employees or how many are under investigation. Metro Transit also did not disclose the reason for the investigation, which is being conducted by an outside agency.
According to a KSTP-TV report, the investigations includes managers and hourly employees and involves employees allegedly trading pills and firearms for coveted overtime shifts.
No disciplinary action has been taken at this juncture, Siqveland said.
The Wednesday rush hour got off to rough and tumble start with a rollover on the frontage road of eastbound 394 at Ridgedale Drive and a crash on southbound Hwy. 252 at 85th Avenue that led to a lane closure.
Things settled down after 6 a.m. and traffic moved swiftly on most metro area freeways and highways. A crash around 7:50 a.m. on the Crosstown at Hiawatha Avenue led to a big back up for eastbound drivers. At one time the line stretched back to Cedar Avenue.
Congestion formed on eastbound 394 with the sunrise, making the trip from 494 to downtown Minneapolis a 20-minute drive.
While traffic moved well, Metro Transit's website crashed and that prevented folks from using services such as NexTrip and its rider alerts. The site was still down as of 9 a.m. The agency said it was working to fix it as soon as possible. The Met Council site also was offline.
I'll be back Thursday with more live traffic reports. Until then, drive safely.
Look out for crashes on the ramp from southbound 35W to Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis.
There's also word of a wreck, possibly with injuries on the ramp from Cretin Avenue to westbound 94 in St. Paul's Midway area.
Here are some current travel times:
Southbound 35W from 95th Avenue to Hwy. 280: 16 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: 14 minutes. Eastbound is 9 minutes.
Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 16 minutes
Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 7 minutes
Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 19 minutes
Southbound Hwy. 169 from I-94 to Crosstown: 13 minutes
Southbound Hwy. 100 from I-94 to Crosstown: 13 minutes
Northbound 35W from County 42 to the Crosstown: 10 minutes.
Northbound Cedar Avenue from 35E to the Crosstown: 8 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: 7 minutes
Westbound Crosstown from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 169: 7 minutes Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 9 minutes
Westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul: 12 minutes
Westbound 94 from 35E to the Lowry Hill Tunnel: 9 minutes.
Westbound Hwy. 36 from Edgerton Street to 35W: 8 minutes.