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Weekend traffic: Full slate of road work comes with fireworks, festivals

The three-day Independence Day holiday weekend looks to be warm and dry, just about perfect for watching the scores of Twin Cities area fireworks displays that will draw crowds to shows both large and small Friday and Saturday nights.

Roads leading to the pyrotechnics and related festivities will see heavier levels of traffic, including around the Taste of Minnesota Friday through Sunday at the Carver County Fairgrounds in Waconia and in downtown Minneapolis where the finish line of a half marathon, family activities and fireworks on Saturday will have streets along the Mississippi River closed. Look for extra traffic around Como Park in St. Paul, home of the Hmong International Freedom Celebration.

On the sports scene, the Lynx are home with a game against Seattle Friday night at Target Center while the St. Paul Saints have home games Friday through Sunday at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul.

Transit will operate on a Saturday schedule Friday, meaning reduced service on buses and trains. Saturday and holiday schedules will be in effect on July 4 and 5. Check schedules at Metro Transit, MVTA, SouthWest Transit, and Maple Grove Transit.  No service on Plymouth Metrolink buses Friday.

A bevy of road construction projects could hamper travel both in the metro area and outstate. Here is a look at the local picture, and a plea for drivers to be careful when traveling through construction zones.

“While we shut down many projects over the Fourth of July holiday, there are still many work zones around the state that will affect travel,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “We ask drivers to pay attention in work zones, plan ahead and perhaps consider alternate routes."

I-35E in St. Paul

This ever-changing construction zone stretches from Little Canada Road to University Avenue in downtown St. Paul. The newest traffic change that recently went into effect is that Phalen Boulevard/Pennsylvania Avenue closes under I-35E.

Detour: Use Jackson Street, University Avenue, Lafayette Road, Tedesco Road, and Payne Avenue.

For the rest of the stretch, plan on two lanes open on the southbound side and three on the northbound side. A number of ramps are closed and be prepared for new lane configurations as you pass through the area.

  • Ramps from southbound 35E to eastbound Hwy. 36 until late August
  • Ramps from both directions of Hwy. 36 to southbound I-35E until late August
  • Ramps from Maryland and Roselawn Avenues to northbound I-35E until late August
  • Southbound I-35E to Maryland Avenue until late August
  • Little Canada Road to southbound I-35E until late August
  • Southbound I-35E to University Avenue. A temporary ramp from southbound I-35E to 12th Street is open for access to the Regions Hospital Area. The ramp from southbound I-35E to Pennsylvania Avenue remains open.
  • University Avenue to westbound 94 is closed
  • Both directions of Phalen Boulevard/Pennsylvania Avenue between approximately L’Orient Street and just east of Mississippi Street are reduced to a single lane
  • University Avenue to westbound I-94 is closed.
  • Northbound ramps to/from Phalen Boulevard are permanently closed.

Hwy. 100 in St. Louis Park

The highway is reduced to two lanes in each direction between Cedar Lake Road and Excelsior Blvd.  Reminder that these ramps between Cedar Lake Road and Excelsior Blvd. remained closed:

  • Hwy 7 loop to southbound Hwy 100
  • Hwy 7 to northbound Hwy 100 closed through fall 2016. Detour to northbound Hwy 100: Excelsior Boulevard.
  • Minnetonka Boulevard to southbound Hwy 100
  • Minnetonka Boulevard to northbound Hwy 100
  • Northbound Hwy 100 to Minnetonka Boulevard closed.
  • 27th Street to southbound Hwy 100
  • Southbound Hwy 100 ramp to Minnetonka Boulevard

Snelling Avenue in St. Paul

This is not new, but a reminder for folks traveling in the Midway area of St. Paul. Snelling Avenue over I-94 is closed until late August. Traffic is being routed over to Lexington Avenue or along the official detour on Marshall and University Avenues, Vandalia Street and Cretin Avenue. Ramps to and from eastbound 94 are back open.

Hwy. 5/West 7th Street near Ft. Snelling

The road is down to a single lane in both directions between Ft. Snelling (Hwy. 55) to Shepard Road.

Additionally, eastbound Hwy. 5 ramps to Edgcumbe Road, Shepard Road and Mississippi River Boulevard are closed through late September.

The bridge over the Mississippi River is being redecked, Expect backups along W. 7th Street and onto the Mendota Bridge and back into St. Paul starting at Davern Street.

The best alternate might be to take I-35E to cross the Mississippi River, then scoot over on Hwy. 110 and skip W. 7th Street altogether.

Hwy. 13 in Mendota

Both directions of the highways are closed between 2nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Mendota at Lilydale. This will be in place until Aug. 22.  Detour is via I-35E and Hwy. 110.

I-494 in Plymouth and Maple Grove

Two northbound lanes will be open and one southbound lane open Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon.  That's when MnDOT will slide the moveable barrier over to create a second southbound lane to accommodate folks returning from out of town. From Sunday afternoon until Monday afternoon, northbound traffic will be restricted to one lane.

Several ramp closures also are in place:

  • Carlson Parkway to southbound I-494
  • Carlson Parkway to northbound I-494.
  • Eastbound I-394 to northbound I-494
  • Southbound I-494 to westbound Hwy. 12
  • Southbound I-494 to Carlson Parkway

Hwy. 10 in Ramsey

Hwy. 10 near Armstrong Boulevard may have congestion related delays through October while Armstrong Boulevard is closed north of Hwy 10. A link to detours for drivers needing alternate routes can be found here.

Kellogg Boulevard in downtown St. Paul

Kellogg is closed between Market Street and Wabasha Street until November. Additionally, the southbound lanes on the Wabasha Bridge, and the northbound lanes of the Exchange Street viaduct will be shut down for the duration of the project.

During the closure, motorists will be directed to use 7th Street and Robert Street.

Minnehaha Avenue in south Minneapolis

Reconstruction of Minnehaha Avenue between Nawadaha Blvd. and 42nd Street is nearing completion, and action starting in mid-July will shift between 42nd Street and 38th Street.

The intersection of Minnehaha Avenue and Nawadaha Blvd. is closed for the week or so. Motorists on E. Minnehaha Pkwy. are being detoured onto Godfrey Pkwy., north on 46th Avenue S and west on E. 46th Street.

This week the intersection of Minnehaha Avenue and 43rd Street closed for up to 10 days. Reconstruction of Minnehaha Avenue south of 42nd Street continues. 

Franklin Avenue bridge

Motor vehicle traffic will be reduced to a single lane in each direction across the Mississippi River.

West River Parkway has been closed north of the Franklin Avenue Bridge since June 2014 due to mudslide repair work that will be completed by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. These traffic changes are still in place:

•    North on West River Parkway to east on Franklin Avenue: Ramp open.
•    North on West River Parkway to west on Franklin Avenue: Follow E. 25th Street to S. 31st Avenue. Then take a left on Franklin Avenue.
•    East on Franklin Avenue to south on W. River Parkway: Ramp open.
•    West on Franklin Avenue to south on W. River Parkway: Follow S. 31st Avenue to E. 25th Street and take a right on W. River Parkway

County Road 101 in Minnetonka and Wayzata

Earlier this month, Hennepin County closed County Road 101 from Minnetonka Boulevard (County Road 5) to Breezy Point Road in Minnetonka and Woodland. County Road 101 (Bushaway Road) is closed to through traffic. All non-local traffic should follow the marked detour using Minnetonka Boulevard, I-494, and Hwy. 12.

Here is the latest update from Hennepin County: Old Excelsior Boulevard remains closed to through traffic for the next several weeks as construction crews continue relocating utilities. Access to Old Excelsior Boulevard is available only to local residents and businesses. All others please follow signed detour using Hutchins Drive to Porter Avenue.

Because of restricted sight lines and safety concerns, access from the north entrance of Red Cherry Lane onto County Road 101 has been closed. Please use the south entrance to exit onto County Road 101.

I-94 in St. Michael

Motorists heading out of town for the weekend might encounter delays on I-94. The same is true on the return trip.  MnDOT is repaving the freeway between Hwy. 241 in St. Michael and County Road 18 near Monticello.  Nightly lane closures will be in place from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. while crews resurface nine miles of the roadway.   Also be aware of a lane shift near the Crow River Bridge.

Hwy. 5 in Carver County

West metro drivers on Hwy. 5 have two closures: in Waconia between County Road 10 and Oak Avenue until Aug. 1, and in Victoria between E. Scandia Road and County Road 11 until September.

Hwy. 169 in Jordan

Hwy. 169 between Hwy. 21 and Hwy. 282 is reduced to a single lane and a speed limit of 45 miles per hour through late October.

Minneapolis Parkways

On Friday night between 6 and 11 p.m., Main Street SE. from 6th Avenue SE to Merriam Avenue, the Stone Arch Bridge and West River Parkway from Plymouth Ave to the Stone Arch Bridge will be closed for the Hot Dam 5K.

Runners participating in the Red, White and Boom Half Marathon will take over the following streets between 6 a.m. and noon Saturday: Main Street SE from 6th Avenue SE to N Plymouth Ave, Theodore Wirth Parkway from Plymouth Avenue N. to Memorial Parkway, Memorial Parkway from Theodore Wirth Parkway to Webber Parkway, and Webber Parkway from Memorial Parkway to Lyndale Ave N.

At the finish line near St. Anthony Main, streets will be blocked from 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday to make room for family activities, live music and the fireworks over the Mississippi River. Main Street SE. from 6th Avenue SE to Hennepin Avenue will be closed.


 


 

Reduced transit service on Friday might catch commuters off guard

With many people taking Friday off and turning Independence Day into a long holiday weekend, Metro Transit and suburban transit providers are expecting fewer riders and are adjusting service to reflect decreased demand. That could catch some commuters off guard as the official holiday is not until Saturday.

In the case of Plymouth Metrolink, there won't be service at all. That includes the city's Dial-a-Ride.

Maple Grove Transit will run express Route 781 from the Maple Grove Transit Station to downtown Minneapolis, but all other routes (780, 781A, 782, 783, 785, 787, 788, and 789) will not run Friday.

Minnesota Valley Transit offices will be closed on Friday and the agency will not be operating express bus service between the southern suburbs and downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul.  Local service on routes 440, 444, 445 and the Metro Red Line will follow a weekend schedule.

SouthWest Transit will run Route 698A from the East Creek, SouthWest Village and SouthWest stations and the University of Minnesota.  Route 684 will limited service between the southwest suburbs, Southdale, downtown Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota.

Metro Transit, the area's largest public transportation provider, will put a majority of its routes on a Saturday schedule, meaning buses and light-rail trains will operate but not as frequently as they do on a normal weekday rush hour.  On busy routes, some schedules are modified with additional trips to accommodate people who do have to get around.

Most routes that don't normally have Saturday service won't have it on Friday. The few that will run Friday will have limited service, the agency said. No Northstar service on Saturday.

Metro Transit institutes “Reduced Service” days when around holidays when many major employers are closed. Most of the service reductions are on routes used by commuters traveling to downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul or the University of Minnesota.

Altogether, Metro Transit will run about 20 percent fewer local bus trips and about one-third the number of express bus trips on Friday. Light-rail trains will only be down about 10 percent compared to the typical weekday.

 

Metro Transit said it considers historic ridership patterns when deciding whether and when to reduce service. In some cases when a holiday is observed on a weekday, such as 2010 when Independence Day was observed on Monday, July 5, ridership has decreased as much as 60 percent.  A similar thing occurs on the day after Thanksgiving.

Reducing service on these lower-demand days provides cost-savings that can be re-directed to other needs, the agency said.