Driving around the Twin Cities this weekend? Watch for traffic jams in these areas

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 5, 2013 - 9:18 PM

Brian Gilmore an employee of Warning Lites of Minnesota, dashes towards a barrel in the north bound lane of35E in downtown St. Paul Thursday evening. The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be resurfacing a 6 mile section of Interstate Hwy 35E form St. Paul north through Maplewood and Little Canada to Shoreveiw. That 6 mile section will be closed nightly during the hours of 8pm- 5:30 am. Most of the work is being done at night to lessen problems for commuters. ORG XMIT: MIN2013070519354950

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It’s a holiday weekend for most people, but crews from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Metro Transit will be out on the job fixing roads and upgrading parts of the Blue Line (formerly called the Hiawatha light-rail line). That will result in a series of closures around the metro that will stymie drivers.

In addition, ramps on Interstate 494 will be closed and a major traffic switch is coming for drivers on Interstate 35E in Eagan.

In addition, several sports events could snag traffic. The Minnesota Lynx will host the Phoenix Mercury at 7 p.m. Sunday at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. In St. Paul, the Saints have games Saturday and Sunday with the Kansas City T-Bones at Midway Stadium. A postgame fireworks show is set for Saturday night.

The main traffic situations to be aware of:

Blue Line Track work

Metro Transit will replace light-rail trains with buses on portions of the Blue Line Saturday and Sunday nights. Overnight Friday until 7 a.m. Saturday, crews will be conducting maintenance work between Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis to the Franklin Avenue Station. From 7:30 p.m. Sunday to 3:30 a.m. Monday, the work will extend from Target Field Station to 46th Street.

Passengers will be directed to Route 55 buses, which will travel on streets near the light-rail line.

Trips by bus take longer than those by train, so plan extra time to reach your destinations or to make connections to other bus routes. Crews will smooth the tracks and make repairs, agency spokesman John Siqveland said. Riders can expect more overnight closures the rest of the month.

Traffic switch on 35E in Eagan

Beginning Sunday, all traffic on I-35E between Cedar Avenue in Eagan and the I-35E/I-35W split in Burnsville will be shifted to the northbound side of the freeway. The head-to-head traffic will result in a single lane each direction until July 22. Currently, traffic is sharing the southbound lanes.

Also Sunday, the ramp from southbound I-35E to County Road 11 will be closed.

I-94 returns to single lane

Enjoy Interstate 94 full lanes through St. Cloud and Clearwater while you can; they’re all open for the holiday weekend. But as of midnight Sunday, road work will resume and traffic will return to a single-lane configuration from County Road 75 to the Hwy. 24 exit at Clearwater.

Intermittent lane closures will continue on the 7.5-mile segment through July 26.

Penn Avenue and 35W ramps closing on 494

On Friday, barricades were scheduled to go up on two ramps that allow motorists to access eastbound 494 in Bloomington.

Crews shut down entrance ramps from Penn Avenue and from northbound and southbound I-35W to eastbound 494. They will remain closed until mid-August. The closures are necessary as crews work in the center lanes and the median between France and Lyndale avenues, MnDOT said.

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