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News from around the state

Weekend traffic: I-35W flyover bridge is coming down; three-year closure in store

Those attending Friday's mega Christian music concert at  U.S. Bank Stadium might be shouting "Hallelujahs," but this weekend drivers likely won't be.

In addition to the third straight weekend closure of Interstate 94 in downtown Minneapolis, MnDOT will  demolish the flyover bridge from northbound Interstate 35W to westbound Interstate 94.

While it's taken down, access to the "Downtown Exits" of 5th Avenue and Grant Street will be closed. Outbound exits from downtown to southbound I-35W at 12th Street and 4th Avenue also will be closed . Once the bridge is gone, it will take three years to rebuild, so motorists will have to adapt just like last summer when the same ramp was closed for 70 days while MnDOT redid the Lowry Hill tunnel. 

Expect extra traffic around Target Field where the Twins host the rival Milwaukee Brewers Friday through Sunday and the Target Center where the Lynx open the season Sunday at 4 p.m. Same will be true in northeast Minneapolis, home of the annual Art-A-Whirl open studio tour.


1. Interstate 94:  Closed from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday between Hwy. 55 and I-35W. Hennepin/Lyndale Avenue will also close from Dunwoody Boulevard to Oak Street. Nearby, Westbound I-94 ramp to 11th Street also closed. Ramps from eastbound I-394 to westbound I-94, and the ramp from northbound Lyndale Avenue to westbound I-94 closed. 

2. Downtown exits on and off  I-35W: Northbound ramp to westbound I-94 closed 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. Exits to southbound I-35 at 12th Street and 4th Avenue S. also closed..

3.  Franklin Ave:. Bridge is closed over I-35W  through at least mid summer.

4. Penn Avenue N.: Three closures related to construction of the C-Line bus rapid transit line are in place: 26th to Lowry avenues, 17th to 21st avenues and 12th to 14th avenues.

5. University Avenue: Closed between Lowry Avenue NE. and 44th Avenue NE. in Columbia Heights.

6. Crosstown Hwy. 62:  Westbound reduced to a single lane at 34th Avenue.

St. Paul

7. Wabasha Street: Closed from Plato Boulevard to Cesar Chavez Street due to a rock slide.

8. Snelling Avenue: Lane restrictions beween Randolph Avenue and Ford Parkway.

9. Hwy. 149/Smith Avenue: The High Bridge over the Mississippi River is closed until December.

North Metro

10. Interstate 35 in Forest Lake: Northbound reduced to two lanes from Hwy. 97 to Hwy. 8.

11. Hwy. 10 in Elk River: Eastbound reduced to one lane and westbound to two lanes and sometimes one for between Joplin Street and Upland Avenue. Periodic lane closures in both directions from Hwy. 101 to Thurston Avenue.

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

South Metro

13. Hwy. 50 in Farmington: Single lane between Hwys. 3 and 52. Flagging operations will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily through late August.

14. 66th Street in Richfield: Closed to through traffic between Girard and Xerxes avenues S. The project extends from Xerxes Avenue on the west end to 16th Avenue South on the east end.

15. Hwy. 3 in Inver Grove Heights: Closed in both directions between Rich Valley Boulevard and Hwy. 55.

West Metro

16. Hwy. 7 in St. Louis Park: Alternating lane closures between Louisiana Avenue and I-494.

State's cleanest gas station restrooms are at Kwik Trip, survey finds

Travelers say finding a clean restroom when nature calls is one of their biggest fears when making a road trip, with nearly 40 percent unsure where to stop to relieve themselves.

The folks at Gasbuddy can guide you to the perfect pit stop. The app ranked the best gas station restrooms in each state and in Minnesota and Wisconsin that would be Kwik Trip stations and stores.

There was no word which chain came in second either state.

In Iowa, Cenex flushed the competition while Casey's General Store took the top prize in North Dakota. Sinclair stations were voted the cleanest in South Dakota, based on millions of reviews covering more than 140,000 stations nationwide. The survey included reviews filed between September 2016 and April 2018.

Oklahoma-based Quik Trip was found to have the cleanest restrooms in seven states, the most of any chain. Wawa won in six states, primarily on the East Coast, while Chevron, Cumberland Farms, Kum & Go and Maverik won in three states.

Texas-based Buc-ee's sat atop the throne, named as the chain with the highest-rated restrooms anywhere in the nation.

"More than half of consumers said that a clean restroom is mandatory when considering where to stop,” said Frank Beard, convenience store and retail trends analyst at GasBuddy, which tracks real-time fuel prices. "Consumers are taking note of brands that go the extra mile to keep their facilities sparkling.”

Clean restrooms make good business, too. A recent report found that gas stations with above-average restroom ratings on GasBuddy saw a 33 percent increase in foot traffic compared to those with below-average ratings.