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Weekend traffic: Test project begins on Maryland Avenue in St. Paul

Ramsey County crews started removing striping along Maryland Avenue between Greenbrier Street and Johnson Parkway in St. Paul, marking the beginning of a test to try out a new configuration that will reduce the road from two lanes in each direction to one with a center turn lane.

That's just one of a handful of new road projects that are on the docket for this weekend. Those include I-35E in St. Paul, Hwy. 65 in Fridley, Hwy. 110 in Mendota Heights and Hwy. 47 in St. Francis.

It's also a big weekend for a big weekend for sporting events as the three of the area's professional sports teams are home. The Twins play at Target Field Friday night and Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The Saints have games at CHS Field Friday through Sunday nights. Minnesota United plays Sunday afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium.

Here is your guide to area road construction

Major road construction

1. I-94 St. Paul to Maplewood: The configuration has two lanes open in each direction between Century Avenue and Mounds Boulevard. Ramps to westbound 94 at Mounds Boulevard and Hwy. 61 are closed until June 16. White Bear Avenue is closed from the south end of the I-94 interchange up to Minnehaha Avenue through early June. Be prepared for temporary lane and ramp closures.

2. I-94 from Brooklyn Center to Nicollet Avenue: Two lanes in each direction between I-694 and Hwy. 55. The ramp from southbound 252 to eastbound/southbound I-94 is closed. Traffic is being detoured to Hwy. 100. The ramp from 3rd Street to westbound I-94 in Minneapolis is scheduled to open Friday night. All westbound I-94 to I-394 traffic will be shifted onto the HOT lanes. There’s no access to HOT lanes for eastbound drivers from Hwy. 100 to downtown Minneapolis. The ramp from westbound 94 to Dowling Avenue is closed.

Minneapolis

3. Cedar and Portland avenues are closed between 28th and Lake streets through the summer.

East Metro

4. I-35E in St. Paul: Two lanes open in the area of Shepard Road through Sept. 22.

5. Maryland Avenue in St. Paul: Lane shifts and travel delays between Greenbrier Street and Johnson Parkway

6. Hwy. 51/Snelling Avenue in St. Paul: Single lane in each direction between Como Avenue and Hwy. 36 through October.

7. Hwy. 110 in Mendota Heights: Lane closures in both directions in places between Lexington Avenue and I-494 through June 11.

North Metro

8. I-694 Little Canada to Arden Hills: Eastbound I-694 is restricted to two lanes separated by a concrete median barrier between Hwy. 10 and I-35E. The inside lane carries through traffic and drivers must continue east on I-694. The outside lane allows local ramp access and must continue south on I-35E. Westbound I-694 is reduced to two lanes. Note: The ramp from Rice Street to westbound I-694 is closed for the duration of the project, which will last until fall.

9. Hwy. 10 in Arden Hills: The ramp from westbound Hwy. 10 to northbound I-35W is closed through late August.

10. Hwy. 65 in Fridley: Northbound lanes closed between Mississippi Street and 73rd Avenue from 9 a.m. Friday until 7 p.m. Saturday.

11. Hwy. 47 in St. Francis: Both directions closed from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday between Viking Boulevard and Norris Lake Road.

West Metro

12. Hwy. 169 Edina to Golden Valley: The Nine Mile Creek bridge is closed between Bren Road and 5th Street/Lincoln Drive and single lane between I-394 and Excelsior Boulevard. The ramp from westbound I-394 to southbound Hwy. 169 is closed through October.

South Metro

13. 66th Street in Richfield: Closed to through traffic between Girard and Xerxes Avenues S.

14. 86th Street in Bloomington: The overpass at I-35W is closed through October. Use 90th Street.

15. County Road 42 in Burnsville: The westbound lanes at the I-35W interchange are set to open at 10 p.m. Saturday. Then the eastbound lanes will close until June 22.

 

Demo shows power of a seat belt; seat belt campaign begins Monday

Just how strong is a seat belt? Strong enough that a tow truck used one to lift a 3,000 pound car.

"Seat belts are little miracle workers that keep drivers in their seats instead of being of moving around inside the vehicle or worse yet, being ejected," said Col. Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol.

Langer made his comments during a news conference put on Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to demonstrate the strength of a seat belt and encourage drivers to wear them. The demonstration came ahead of a two-week "Click It or Ticket" seat belt enforcement campaign that begins Monday and runs through June 4.

Last year, 79 drivers who were not wearing seat belts died in crashes and preliminary numbers show that 25 unbelted motorists have died this year. Langer said it's always tough for troopers to tell family members that a relative has died. "It's even more difficult to knock on a door in case that it truly was not necessary."

Minnesotans are among the best in the country when it comes to wearing seat belts with 93 percent of motorists buckling up, the DPS says. That compares with 88.5 percent nationally.

Still, there are too many drivers and passengers who don't wear them, said Donna Berger, director of the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety. If you are in a crash "the odds [of survival] are so much better if you make that choice to buckle that seat belt."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts helped save 13,941 lives nationwide in 2015.

Minnesota law requires anybody behind the wheel and all passengers in vehicle to wear a seat belt. "Failing to put a seat belt on even one time can mean the difference between life and death," Berger said.