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Traffic update: Easing up on I-35W, still slow on I-94 in Minneapolis

Travel times have dropped on southbound I-35W in Minneapolis now that previous crashes and stalls in the work zone have cleared. Things are almost back to normal between Hennepin Avenue and Crosstown.

Westbound I-94 remains sluggish from Franklin Avenue past the lane reduction zone between Chicago and Nicollet Avenues. Plan on 18 to 24 minutes to reach I-394.

Elsewhere:

Up in Forest Lake, northbound I-35 drivers will experience single lane conditions until about noon Wednesday as part of a traffic switch going on between Hwy. 97 and Hwy. 8.

Road closed signs are up and motorists who use eastbound Diffley Road over Hwy. 77/Cedar Avenue are on detour starting Wednesday for about a week. The detour sends drivers along Hwy. 77 to Cliff Road and westbound Diffley Road in order to bypass the closure.  Crews will be replacing bridge joints then flip to the other side starting about June 27.

Big delays develop on west I-94 as lane in downtown Mpls. closes

The Minnesota Department of Transportation warned drivers using westbound I-94 that they would experience delays when one lane on the freeway between Chicago Avenue and Nicollet Avenue in downtown Minneapolis closed.

The agency was right.

On Tuesday morning, motorists felt the pinch during the morning rush hour with backups extending back to Hwy. 280. 

Overnight MnDOT closed the right lane and the result was a big dose of congestion.

“People will want to plan ahead for any trips on I-94 west near downtown Minneapolis," said MnDOT spokesman David Aeikens. "The lane reduction could cause delays that people will want to leave plenty of extra time to navigate through or consider an alternate route.”

And for the bad news. The freeway will be down to two lanes in the area for the next four months. 

The closure is related to the $239 million Downtown to Crosstown project, which includes rebuilding or replacing 18 bridges along I-35W between I-94 and 43rd Street. The project also includes replacing the road surface and building a transit station at Lake Street.