The Drive Logo

Blog

The Drive

News from around the state

Metro Transit seeking cause for morning derailment near Franklin Avenue

Metro Transit officials are probing what caused a Blue Line train to derail south of downtown Minneapolis Friday morning, disrupting the commute for hundreds of riders for about 2½ hours.

A southbound train jumped the tracks across from Whiskey Junction and north of the Franklin Avenue station about 5 a.m., said Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla.

“It was a minor derailment,” he said.

But it was enough to knock out service in both directions between the 38th Street station and U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis until service was restored about 7:40 a.m.

No injuries were reported.

Brian Smoliak, of Minneapolis, was heading to the airport when the mishap occurred. He said the train passed over a switch and he felt a big jolt and the rail car jumped. Metro Transit employees used flashlights to search below the stalled train, he said.

“A guy was telling us to get off the train” and that a rear wheel was off the tracks, Smoliak said.

Passengers walked a short distance to the Franklin Avenue Station and boarded another train that continued south on the northbound tracks, Smoliak said. Replacement buses ferried passengers between 38th Street and downtown Minneapolis.

Crews used a hydraulic jack to lift the car back onto the tracks and move it to a nearby storage and maintenance facility.

A Vikings home game and another I-35W closure will affect weekend traffic

One more weekend motorists will have to endure a shut down of Interstate 35W in northeast Minneapolis, but this time only the southbound lanes will close. Then drivers will get a two-week break as construction and repaving project takes a hiatus for the State Fair and Labor Day.

Football fans will get to practice their travel and tailgating routines on Saturday as the Vikings host the Jaguars in a preseason game at noon at U.S.  Bank Stadium. The Twins are home against the Tigers Saturday and Sunday at Target Field. Expect heavy traffic on Hwy. 169 south of Shakopee where the Renaissance Festival opens for the season.

Looking ahead, more misery in store for south metro drivers. On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will begin rehabilitating the Minnesota River bridge connecting Burnsville and Bloomington. Drivers will encounter nightly lane closures through Sept. 7.

But first a few of the major construction projects underway this weekend:

Minneapolis

1. Interstate 35W: Until 5 a.m. Monday, southbound lanes closed from County Road C to NE. 4th Street. Road C. Access to Hwy. 280 will be closed. Motorists will have access to exits between I-694 and County Road C. Access from westbound Hwy. 36 to Hwy. 280 will be closed. Freeway reduced to two southbound lanes from downtown to 43rd Street. Northbound is two lanes plus a MnPASS lane up to 31st Street, then third general traffic lane open to 3rd Street. MnPASS northbound open to 31st Street. This set up will be in place until late 2019. Ramps from northbound I-35W to 11th Street and 5th Avenue and to from 12th Street/4th Avenue to southbound closed.

2. Interstate 94: Reduced to two lanes between Chicago and Portland Avenues.

3. Penn Avenue N.: Closed from 23rd to Lowry avenues and 35th to Dowling avenues.

4. Hennepin Avenue S.: Closed from 31st to 36th streets.

5. NE. Broadway Street: Closed from Stinson Boulevard to Industrial Boulevard until fall.

St. Paul
6. Wabasha Street and Kellogg Boulevard: Closed from Plato Boulevard to Cesar Chavez Street. Westbound Kellogg Blvd. closed 7th Street to Washington Street.

7. Hwy. 149/Smith Avenue: The High Bridge over the Mississippi River is closed until December. Periodic lane closures from the High Bridge to Hwy. 149 in Mendota Heights.

East Metro
8. Hwy. 95 in Afton: Closed both directions between Bailey Road and 70th Street until Sept. 7.

North Metro
9. Interstate 35 in Forest Lake: Southbound reduced to two lanes from Hwy. 8 to Hwy. 97. Northbound lanes have reopened.

10. Hwy. 10 in Elk River: Reduced to one lane in both directions between Waco Street and Upland Avenue. 

11. Hwy. 169 in Champlin: Single lane traffic in both directions between Hwy. 610 and East Hayden Lake Road.

South Metro
12. Hwy. 50 in Farmington: Single lane with flaggers between Hwy. 3 and Hwy. 52.

13. Hwy. 3 in Inver Grove Heights: Closed in both directions from County Road 26 to 60th Street, and Hwy. 149 and 55. The intersection of Hwy 3 and Rich Valley Rd/County Road 71is closed.

14. 66th Street in Richfield: Closed to through traffic between Humboldt and Portland avenues S.

15. Interstate 494 in Newport: Lane shifts in the vicinity of Hardman Avenue. Westbound ramps to and from 7th Avenue are closed.

West Metro
16. Hwy. 41 in Chaska: Closed in both directions from Hundertmark Road and Pioneer Trail until Sept. 3. Lane closures between Hwys. 7 and 5.

17. Flying Cloud Drive in Eden Prairie: Closed from Charlson Road and Spring Road.

18. Crosstown Hwy. 62 in Minnetonka: Single lane in both directions from I-494 to Shady Oak Road. Ramps from westbound Hwy. 62 to southbound Hwy. 169 and eastbound Hwy. 62 to Gleason Road are closed.

19. Hwy. 55 in Rockford: Closed in both directions between Rockford and Buffalo.

20. Hwy. 7 in St. Louis Park: Until 5 a.m. Monday, single lane in both directions between I-494 and Hopkins Crossroad.