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News from around the state

Weekend traffic: Delays expected on I-94 north of the Twin Cities

North of the Twin Cities drivers can expect delays on I-94 between Clearwater and Monticello as the freeway will be reduced to a single lane in each direction.

The University of Minnesota’s homecoming game against Illinois Saturday afternoon and related festivities will bring street closures and extra traffic around TCF Bank Stadium. The homecoming parade will march down University Avenue between 12th Avenue and Walnut Street at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Other traffic generating events include the Vikings game at noon Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium and a World Wrestling Entertainment’s “Tables, Ladders & Chairs” event Sunday night at Target Center.
Here is where construction project and detours will continue.

1. Cedar and Portland avenues: Closed between 28th and Lake streets for bridge construction. The Portland Avenue bridge over I-94 is closed until late November. Detour is via Chicago Avenue.

2. 5th Avenue S.: The ramps to northbound I- 35W and eastbound I-94 are closed. Fifth Avenue is closed between Franklin Avenue and E.19th Street.

3. Franklin Avenue S: The bridge over I-35W is closed until spring 2018.

4. I-35W: The northbound MnPass lane is closed from 26th Street into downtown Minneapolis. Lane closures in the vicinity of Franklin Avenue.

East Metro
5 . Hwy. 5 in St. Paul: Both directions at Payne Avenue reduced to two lanes. Payne Avenue is closed between E. 7th Street and Woodward Avenue.

6. Hwy. 149/Smith Avenue in St. Paul: The High Bridge is closed until December 2018.

North Metro

7. I- 694 in Shoreview: Lane closures between Hwy. 10 and Rice Street.

8. Hwy. 10 in Elk River: Intermittent lane closures between Waco Street and Joplin Street.

West Metro

9. Rockford Road in Plymouth: Reduced to one lane in each direction on the over pass at I-494.

South Metro

10. 66th Street in Richfield: Closed to through traffic between Girard and Xerxes avenues S.

11. 86th Street in Bloomington: The overpass at I-35W is closed.

12. Hwy. 55 in Inver Grove Heights: Lane restrictions in the vicinity of Argenta Trail.

New BRT line to run on Chicago Avenue on the drawing board

Photo: Metro Transit's A-Line makes a stop along Snelling Avenue in St. Paul

This week the Drive told you about how plans for the new bus rapid transit (BRT) line on Penn Avenue are progressing. On Thursday, Metro Transit will share its plans for another BRT line that is in the works.

The transit agency will hold an open house for the D-Line, which would run on Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis and along Fremont Avenue in north Minneapolis. The line connecting the Brooklyn Center Transit Center with downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America would largely replace Route 5, one of the system's busiest lines. Each weekday, Route 5 provides about 19,000 rides.

The open house will be held from 5 to  7 p.m. at the Pearl Park Recreation Center, 414 E. Diamond Lake Road in south Minneapolis.

BRT lines use large buses that operate much like light-rail trains. They run on city streets but stop only at stations and platforms about every half mile apart. Riders pay fares at machines on the platform and can board or exit buses through the front or back doors.

The goal is to speed up trips with fewer stops and faster boarding, Metro Transit said.

BRT could help on-time performance along the corridor where during rush hour local Metro Transit buses carry 20 percent of people moving through the corridor and often run late. Metro Transit says trips could be up to 20 percent faster than they are now.

Route 5 buses make 126 northbound trips and 121 southbound tips. During peak periods, there are as many as 23 buses on the line.

There are still plenty of details to be worked out, including where to place stations between 46th Street and 56th Street on Chicago Avenue. Riders can expect one or two stations in this stretch, Metro Transit said.

The D-Line would be the area's third BRT Line. The first, A Line on Snelling Avenue, Ford Parkway and 46th Street was the first region’s arterial rapid bus line. It opened on June 11, 2016. Planning for the new C-Line on Penn Avenue is ongoing. 

Planning for the D-Line will continue through the end of the year. Station design would be carried out in 2018 and 2019 and construction would begin in 2020 or 2021, pending full project funding, the agency said.