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

7:15 a.m. update: Crash on 35E in St. Paul gone, congestion is not

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: December 18, 2014 - 7:15 AM

This traffic jam on southbound 35E is the result of a short-lived crash ahead at Pennsylvania Avenue. The wreck has cleared, but obviously the congestion has not.  The line up begins near Little Canada Road.

Eastbound 394 is also experiencing the pains of a wreck.  Look for slow downs at General Mills Blvd. with a crash ahead at Louisiana Avenue. That mishap is on the right shoulder.

7:10 a.m. update: Wreck on 35E in downtown St. Paul

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: December 18, 2014 - 7:08 AM

Commuters can expect a delay on southbound 35E. A wreck is blocking the left shoulder at Pennsylvania Avenue. That's got traffic at a near standstill at Maryland Avenue.

Other wrecks:  Look for one on eastbound 394 at Louisiana Avenue in Golden Valley, and the one blocking the right lane on eastbound Hwy. 5 over Hwy. 55 near Ft. Snelling.

Metro Transit offers on-time guarantee for Northstar riders, or your money back

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: December 18, 2014 - 8:40 AM

Northstar commuter trains will be no more than 11 minutes late arriving in Big Lake or Target Field, or riders will get their money back.

Metro Transit will announce details of the Northstar Service Guarantee program at a press briefing Thursday afternoon at the Target Field station. Riders will have to register for the program at metrotransit.org/northstar. The promotion will start Jan. 1 and run for a month.

The program comes following a difficult winter in 2013-2014 that saw frequent delays along the line that runs from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis. The delays were blamed on weather and mechanical problems and tracks clogged with freight traffic.  Northstar trains run on tracks owned by BNSF, which oversees freight and passenger rail operations on the corridor.

“The delays that have occurred on some Northstar trips are largely out of Metro Transit’s control but that doesn’t diminish our responsibility to our customers or our obligation to make things better in the future,” Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said. “This program is our way of thanking customers who have stayed with us and inviting those who may have left to give us another chance.”

Metro Transit says it hopes to win customers who abandoned the train back. Ridership dropped precipitously as did on time performance.

The Northstar Commuter Rail Line offers service between Big Lake and Target Field stations in downtown Minneapolis, where riders connect with bus and light rail lines to reach destinations throughout the Twin Cities Metro Area. Northstar stations are located in Elk River, Ramsey, Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley.

6:30 a.m. update: Current drive times

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: December 18, 2014 - 6:31 AM

The morning drive continues to be crash free and that bodes well for commuters.

We do have building levels on southbound 35W between County Road 10 and County Road E2. 

Westbound 94 from Hudson to St. Paul and eastbound 94 from Albertville to the Fish Lake Interchange in Maple Grove also is seeing increasing levels.

Still, all routes are still moving well.

Here are some current travel times:

North metro

Southbound 35W from 95th Avenue to downtown Minneapolis: 19 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 10 minutes.

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 9 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: 13 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: 15 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: 8 minutes

Eastbound Hwy. 212 from Dell Road to Crosstown: 6 minutes

Westbound 494 from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 100: 6 minutes.  Eastbound 494 from Hwy. 169 to 35W: 5 minutes

Westbound Crosstown from Cedar Avenue to Hwy. 169: 8 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 8 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.

6 a.m. update: Current travel times

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: December 18, 2014 - 6:01 AM

No weather, no crashes, no delays. Thursday's morning rush is off to a fine start.  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: 12 minutes

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

West metro

Eastbound 94 from Hwy. 101 to 494: 11 minutes

Southbound 494 from 94 down to 394: 12 minutes

Eastbound 394 from 494 to 35W via 94: 16 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: 15 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: 7 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: 8 minutes   Eastbound Crosstown from Hwy. 100 to Cedar Avenue: 8 minutes

East metro

Westbound 94 from Manning Avenue to downtown St. Paul: 12 minutes

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

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

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