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It's now Monday for Hwy. 169's Nine Mile Creek bridge closing

Yes, we've heard this before, but this time the Minnesota Department of Transportation seems fairly certain that the Nine Mile Creek bridge on Hwy. 169 will close Monday.

And bright and early, too. Officially lanes across the bridge between Bren Road and Lincoln Drive in Edina will shut down at 2 a.m. Crews will start setting up barricades and cones around 8 p.m. Sunday night, so watch for traffic impacts as the highway is reduced to a single lane in the area leading to the bridge.

The bridge will be replaced with a causeway and will take nine months to build.

"Rush hour folks will see the full closure," said spokesman David Aeikens. The only way they would not is if something unforseen pops up over the weekend. "Hopefully they have their routes planned."

What is more likely to catch drivers off guard is that the ramp from westbound I-394 to southbound Hwy. 169 also will close Monday. Additionally, southbound Hwy. 169 will see a new lane configuration from Hwy. 55 down to I-394.  All traffic in the right lane of southbound Hwy. 169 will be diverted onto westbound I-394, while through traffic will be shifted to the left lane. Barricades will prevent last-second lane switches.

The idea is to limit the number of southbound motorists using the portion of Hwy. 169 between I-394 and 5th Street/Lincoln Drive and steer them onto I-394 and I-494, Aeikens said.

This is the third time MnDOT has announced the bridge closing. The first scheduled for Jan. 10 was pushed back a week due to cold and snowy weather. Last week MnDOT delayed the closure because utility wires under the bridge had not been removed. They are still there, but MnDOT can work around them, Aeikens said.

The agency needs to get started on the project so it can get it done before the end of the construction season in October. MnDOT has sent postcards to about 200 residents who live nearby alerting them that work may take place anytime between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. So it might be loud for the next month as the current bridge comes down.

Weekend traffic: Women's march in St. Paul, I-94 closure in Maple Grove

Organizers of Saturday's Women's March Minnesota are telling protesters, demonstrators and spectators to be ready for traffic delays, and it's advice motorists heading to or through St. Paul may want to heed. Or better yet, just avoid the area, city officials suggest.

The social justice rally - 20,000 or more people expected - coincides with a massive march in Washington D.C. and simultaneous events across the country, so look for it to be a traffic magnet.

Drivers using I-94 in Maple Grove are likely to experience delays, too. The Minnesota Department of Transportation will have the freeway closed to through traffic between the I-494/694/94 interchange and newly-opened portion of Hwy. 610 from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday.

On the sports scene, the red-hot Wild  face off Saturday against Anaheim and Sunday against Nashville. Puck drops at 7 both nights at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

The University of Minnesota men's basketball team has a date with Wisconsin at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Williams Arena.

Traffic generating events at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis include country mega star Eric Church in concert Friday and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Saturday.

Women's March

Warm weather by mid-January standards will likely swell crowds for the 10 a.m. gathering at St. Paul College (I-94 and Kellogg Blvd.), which will be followed by an 11 a.m. march down Concordia Avenue and John Ireland Boulevard to the State Capitol where an outdoor rally will be held on the south steps.

St. Paul city officials say the exit from eastbound I-94 to Kellogg Boulevard will be closed for 30 to 60 minutes beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, as will both directions of John Ireland Boulevard between Kellogg Boulevard and Martin Luther King Boulevard. There could be other "brief" closures as participants cross intersections, said spokesman Joe Ellickson.

"Avoid the area around the State Capitol between 10 a.m. and noon and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. if you are not a part of the Women’s March on Washington," Ellickson said.

Parking will be challenging as no parking is available the the college and is limited around the capitol. They encourage carpooling and using this map to identify parking locations. Public transportation is encourage, too. The nearest light-rail stop along the Green Line is Capitol/Rice Street Station. Bus lines stopping at the capitol or Minnesota History Center include Metro Transit routes 3, 16, 21, 62, 67, 68, 71 and 94.

I-94 closure


The freeway will be closed to through traffic between the I-494/694/94 interchange and newly-opened portion of Hwy. 610 from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. During the closure, westbound motorists will be detoured north on Hwy. 169 then west on Hwy. 610.  Eastbound drivers will be detoured east on Hwy. 610 and then south on Hwy. 169. Motorists will encounter lane closures beginning at 8 p.m

Local westbound traffic will be allowed to access exits at Hemlock Lane, Weaver Lake Road and Maple Grove Parkway, but MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard said only drivers who absolutely need to use those exits should. And there will be no opportunity to access westbound I-94 at either exit, so motorists heading further west will need to use the detour, he said.

The 101st Avenue bridge is being removed since the new Highway 610 corridor runs along the former alignment of 101st Avenue between County Road 81 and I-94.