Construction of the new Hwy. 610 connection between County Road 81 and Interstate 94 in Maple Grove is almost done, and on Thursday the Minnesota Department of Transportation celebrated.
But motorists still have to wait about another month to use the final segment of the highway, which will complete the 12-mile route linking Interstate 94 in Maple Grove to the Hwy. 47/10 interchange in Coon Rapids.
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and other local, state and federal dignitaries gathered Thursday on a bridge over the $80 million project, which is expected to be complete by mid-November.
Currently the highway ends at 81 and Elm Creek Boulevard.
Nicknamed the “North Crosstown,” the freeway was authorized by MnDOT in 1975, and the first 7-mile segment was completed in 2000. Another 2.5-mile segment westward to County Road 81 in Maple Grove opened in 2011.
Work on the final 2.5-mile stretch began in 2014 and included building a bridge over Fernbrook Lane and an interchange at Maple Grove Parkway. A half-mile segment of 101st Avenue North between I-94 and Fernbrook Lane was moved, while 105th Avenue was extended west from Holly Lane across I-94 to a new intersection with 101st Avenue.
City officials have hailed Hwy. 610 as “critical to business development in the area.” The road has also taken pressure off the parallel I-94 to I-694 artery, which carries about 115,000 vehicles a day.
MnDOT and city officials had scheduled Thursday’s grand opening in hopes the entire project would be complete while the weather was still nice. But crews fell behind on the project, which was hampered by 10 inches of rain and flooding last month.
At the outset, the connection at I-94 will only allow westbound 610 drivers to access westbound I-94, while eastbound 94 drivers will only be able to access eastbound 610. Future plans call for additional ramps to complete the interchange, but right now “that is not funded,” said MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768