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MnDOT hosts open house on Hwy. 12 median barrier

Detours and weekend and nightly closures are coming to a stretch of Hwy. 12 in the west metro this fall and they may be welcome.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation on Wednesday will hold an open house at Orono City Hall to outline its plans to install concrete median barrier to separate eastbound and westbound traffic between County Road 112 in Long Lake and County Road 6 in Orono. MnDOT officials will take questions and talk about traffic impacts from 5 to 7 p.m. at 2750 Kelley Parkway.

Members of the Highway 12 Safety Coalition have been pushing for the wall along the 3½-mile segment of the two-lane highway that has seen several fatal and serious injury crashes over the past five years, including three in three days last August. The coalition is composed of composed of law enforcement members and representatives of 12 communities and two sheriff’s offices tired of seeing people die on Hwy. 12.

About 24,000 vehicles a day travel on the narrow stretch of Hwy. 12 from Wayzata to the Hennepin-Wright County line. It is one of the most dangerous segments or roadway in the metro with three wrecks resulting in death or serious injury for every 100,000 vehicle miles traveled, or nearly twice the rate of 1.57 wrecks on similar two-lane highways in the state, according to a 2015 safety audit conducted by the state Department of Transportation.

There have been 23 deaths along the corridor since 2011. More than 60 percent of fatal or incapacitating crashes identified by the audit were head-on crashes, and 40 percent of those occurred in the Orono, Long Lake, Maple Plain and Independence areas, the audit found.

 MnDOT will spend $2.3 million to build the barrier.

Last week, the agency started installing left turn lanes at the north and south junctions of County Road 92. Both projects are aimed at making travel safer along the highway which has earned the nickname "The Corridor of Death."

Weekend traffic alert: Shutdowns on I-94 in Midway area, Hwy. 100

As it's hot, hot, hot, motorists may find the biggest traffic snarls this weekend on roads leading to lakes, pools and all places cool.

Plan your routes now if you are heading to downtown Minneapolis for Friday's Lynx game at Target Center, free tours of U.S. Bank Stadium Saturday and Sunday or for the Aquatennial's fireworks display Saturday night. In the most significant impediment of the weekend, both directions of I-94 in the Midway between Lexington Parkway and I-35E will be closed Friday night to Sunday evening and a single lane from Lexington to Hwy. 280.

That could also impact fans heading to downtown St. Paul for the Lowertown Blues and Funk Festival, St. Paul Saints games at CHS Field or the Duran Duran concert Saturday and Drake and Future's "Summer Sixteen Summer" Sunday show at the Xcel Energy Center.

Back in Minneapolis, Lake Street between 42nd and Elliott Avenues will be closed between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday for the next installment of Minneapolis Open Streets.

MnDOT will have the southbound lanes of Hwy. 100 through St. Louis Park and Edina shut down.

Here is your guide to this weekend’s road construction:

1. I-494 in Plymouth: Traffic between Fish Lake Road in Maple Grove and Hwy. 55 in Plymouth is to two lanes each direction until Nov. 4.

2, Hwy 100 through St. Louis Park and Edina: At 10 p.m. Friday, southbound lanes between I-394 and Crosstown will shut down from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. Follow the detours to Hwy 169 or I-35W to bypass the closure. Nouthbound reduced to two lanes between Crosstown and W. 36th Street.

3. I-694 and Hwy. 252 in Brooklyn Center: Lane and ramp closures on Saturday until 5 p.m.

4. I-35W in Arden Hills: Lane restrictions near bridge projects at County Roads E2 and H.

5. I-694 in Shoreview: Westbound traffic has two lanes separated by a concrete barrier between I-35E and Lexington Avenue.

6. I-35E in the northeast metro: Intermittent lane closures between County roads 96 and J. County 96 is single lane from Centerville Road to White Bear Parkway and closed at Manning Avenue.

7. Hwys. 61 and 97 in Forest Lake: No access to eastbound Hwy. 97 from Hwy. 61. Single lane in both directions of Hwy 61 between the north intersection of Hwy 97/Scandia Trail and 202nd Street.

8. Hwy. 8 in Franconia: Closed between the south junction of Hwy. 95 and downtown Taylors Falls.

9. I-94 from St. Paul to Maplewood: The left westbound lane between Mounds Blvd and Century Ave. is permanently closed through early August. The left eastbound lane is closed from 4 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays until Aug. 19.

10. I-94 in the Midway: Both directions closed between Lexington Parkway and I-35E and single lane between Lexington Avenue and Hwy. 280 from 8 p.m. Friday until 5 p.m. Sunday.

11. I-35E in St. Paul: Intermittent lane closures in near St. Clair Avenue and between I-94 and Maryland Avenue.

12. Hwy. 36 at Lexington Avenue in Roseville: Traffic shifted to a bypass on the south side of Hwy. 36. Ramps at Lexington Avenue are closed.

13. Hwy. 280 in Lauderdale: Single lane in each direction between Broadway St. and Como Avenue.

14. I-35W in Minneapolis: The following bridges over I-35W have lane closures: Westbound Hennepin Avenue, eastbound Broadway Street and northbound Johnson Street.

15. Hwy. 5 in St. Paul: Single lane in both directions over the Mississippi River near Fort Snelling for bridge repair.

16. Hwy. 13 in Lilydale: Closed between Wachtler Avenue and Sylvandale Road until Sept. 2.

17. Hwy. 3 in Farmington: Closed between County Road 46 and Claremont Drive and at Chesterfield Way Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. Southbound closed between Willow and Ash streets.

18. Hwy. 61 in Denmark Township: Occasional lane closures in both directions from just north of Hwy 10 to just south of 127th Street.