The long-awaited 75-day closure of Hwy. 36 in Maplewood, in both directions between Hwy. 61 and White Bear Avenue, is scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. on Monday, June 17, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

The closure is needed so that construction on a diamond interchange replacing the stop signal at English Street can be completed. During planning for the $17.3 million project, officials decided to completely close the stretch for construction to save time and money — one year and $2 million — on the project. The road is set to reopen on Aug. 31, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.

The interchange project is part of MnDOT’s effort to remove as many signal lights as possible along Hwy. 36 between Interstates 694 and 35W, to make it a “limited access freeway.” The key commuter route in the north and east metro was built in the 1930s.

The English Street intersection has had a higher-than-average accident rate. About 50,000 vehicles use the highway daily.

Motorists driving east on Hwy. 36 will be directed to follow Interstate 35E to Interstate 694.

Motorists driving west on Hwy. 36 should plan to take I-694 to I-35E.

Also, all access to Hwy. 36 from English Street will be shut down starting June 10 to give crews time to set up median barriers and build retaining walls for the new interchange ramps.

Work on the project started in March with retaining wall construction. It includes work on County Road B and frontage roads, construction and realignment of a bridge on the Bruce Vento Trail and work on the County Road B Trail.

Jim Anderson