This weekend in traffic: I-694 closure, Blue Line track work, U of M Homecoming

  • Blog Post by: Tim Harlow
  • September 27, 2013 - 12:20 PM

Freeway construction on I-35 and a closure on I-694, combined with Blue Line Track work and Homecoming festivities at the U could slow you down this weekend.

The Floyd of Rosedale trophy will be on the line when the University of Minnesota football team takes on the Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. Homecoming festivities also will bring scores of people to campus, so expect it to be busy. Details on parking and road closures below.

Getting to the U could be problematic for fans coming from the far south metro and for the Iowa fans who will head north in droves as major segments of I-35 will be under construction.

The weekend also will bring a closure on I-694 in the north metro and lane and ramp closures on I-494 on the Wakota Bridge, Blue Line track work (see below) and last Twins games of the season. The Nine Inch Nails concert at the Xcel Energy Center will bring traffic to downtown St. Paul on Saturday night.

Interstate 35

Metro area motorists have endured the single lane construction between County Road 2 and County Road 70 for about a week, and it won't let up until mid-November, MnDOT says.

This weekend that stretch should be quite busy with football fans heading north and a beautiful fall weekend on tap.  Here is what is scheduled for this weekend:

  • Motorists are sharing the southbound lanes between County Road 2 and County Road 70
  • Ramps from northbound I-35 to County Road 50 and from County Road 60 (185th Street) to northbound 35 are closed.
  • Look for nightly lane closures from County Road 50 up to the I-35E/35W split in Burnsville.

Further south, a 7-mile stretch of I-35 is down to a single lane in both directions for a mill and overlay project that will be in place from Owatonna to Faribault.  MnDOT is telling drivers that they may experience periods of stop-and-go traffic due to heavy traffic volumes, especially on Friday and Sunday evenings.

Alternate: Use Hwy. 52 or Hwy. 169 to avoid this work zone. But if either of those routes is too far out of the way, you'll just have to wait it out.  MnDOT is telling motorists to use use both lanes during backups and take turns merging into the construction zone, where single-lane traffic begins. This method reduces rear-end crashes and helps keep traffic flowing as best as possible.

Even more road work: Southbound I-35 is a single lane from Hwy. 14 in Owatonna and Hwy. 30 at Blooming Prairie from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and Saturday as crews install a high tension cable wire in the center median.

Interstate 694 in the north metro

The westbound lanes between I-35W and Long Lake Road will be reduced to a single lane at 7 p.m. Friday and then all lanes will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. Crews will be doing concrete repair. 

Ramps from I-35W to westbound I-694 also will be closed

Detour: North on 35W, then west on Hwy. 10 to Hwy. 610 and south on Hwy. 252 back to 694.

Meanwhile, eastbound lanes will remain open,but look for lane restrictions as road work continues between Hwy. 252 and Long Lake Road.

494 at the Wakota Bridge

Expect delays if you are driving on westbound 494 across the Wakota Bridge in the Newport and South St. Paul areas. The freeway will be reduced to two lanes between Bailey Road and Hardman Avenue from 6 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday.  The ramp from Maxwell Avenue to westbound 494 also will be closed.

The westbound ramp from 494 to Hardman Avenue is already closed.

Hwy. 10 in Anoka

Motorists will encounter Intermittent lane closures in both directions between Fairoak Avenue and Hanson Blvd. all weekend, so prepare for delays.

Hwy. 36 has lane openings, ramp closure

It's been a long summer for Hwy. 36 drivers, but the last of the major barriers will be coming down Saturday. The new bridge over Keller Lake opens at 6 p.m. Saturday.  In the coming days, there might encounter occasional and temporary lane closures as crew do clean up work.

As a reminder, the loop from northbound Hwy. 61 to westbound Hwy. 36 is closed until Oct. 8. Detour: Eastbound Hwy. 36 to the new English Street ramp, cross over the bridge and go west onto westbound Hwy 36.

Hwy. 65 in East Bethel

Starting at 8 p.m. Friday, the intersection of Hwy. 65 and Viking Blvd. will be closes to allow for the removal of a culvert that runs under the roadway. It will reopen at 5 a.m. Monday.

Detour: Use Crosstown Blvd. (County Road 18) to County Road 68 and then Viking Blvd.

Blue Line Track Work

Buses will substitute for Blue Line trains from 11:30 p.m. Friday until 3:30 a.m. Monday between Terminal 2 (Humphrey Terminal) at the MSP Airport and the Mall of America.  Affected stations include: Terminal 2, American Boulevard, Bloomington Central, 28th Avenue and Mall of America.

The disruption is necessary as crews work on the 34th Avenue/I-494 intersection. 

Trains will operate as normal elsewhere on the line that runs from downtown Minneapolis to the Mall of America.  Maps as to where passengers can catch buses are on Metro Transit's web site.

University of Minnesota Homecoming/Football game parking information

Look for lots of pomp and circumstance along University Avenue as the U of M Homecoming parade steps off at 7 p.m. Thousands are expected to line the street and take part in festivities that include face painting, balloon animals, games and giveaways to augment the colorful floats, bands and unique entries that only a college parade would have.

TCF Bank Stadium is the site of the Passion Pit with guest Hoodie Allen. The concert begins at 8:30 p.m. so expect lots of activity on campus all night and on into Saturday morning. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Drivers should anticipate congestion and delays while traveling to and around campus. Carpooling and alternate methods (transit, bike, walk) are highly recommended.

Here are some traffic notes those driving to campus will need to know:

  • Pre-game - these traffic restrictions are in effect:
  • 23rd Avenue between University Avenue and 6th Street is one-way northbound.
  • Oak Street is closed from 4th to 5th Streets.
  • During periods of high pedestrian activity, traffic control officers may restrict left and right turns from University Avenue eastbound to Oak Street.
  • Post-game - the following traffic restrictions are in effect:
  • 23rd Avenue is closed to both directions of traffic from 6th Street to the Gopher Lot.
  • 23rd Avenue between the Gopher Lot and University Avenue is one-way southbound.
  • Erie Street between Essex and Fulton Streets is restricted to local traffic.
  • 5th/6th Street from the Gold and Maroon Lots to 15th Avenue is one-way westbound.
  • 6th Street from the Gold, Ski-U-Mah and Victory Lots to 25th Avenue is one-way eastbound.
  • 25th Avenue from 6th to 4th Streets is one-way southbound.
  • 17th Avenue is one-way southbound from the 4th Street Ramp to 4th Street until traffic clears on 5th Street. Once traffic clears, vehicles exiting the 4th St. Ramp may leave via 4th or 5th Streets.
  • Essex Street between the Oak St. Ramp and Oak Street is one-way westbound.

The best option might be to park at the State Fairgrounds and taking a free shuttle to the game might be the best option.

On home gamedays, free Gopher Football Shuttles will bring patrons from St. Paul to TCF Bank Stadium.

  • The St. Paul Gopher Football Shuttle stops at two locations:
    • Lot S108 (St. Paul fairgrounds lot)
    • TCF Bank Stadium (East Bank)
  • The St. Paul Gopher Football Shuttle runs every 15 minutes starting 3 hours before the game and increases to 5-10 minute service as needed.
  • During the game, these shuttles run every 15 minutes.
  • After the game, these shuttles run continuously until the crowd is clear. After this time, see the Campus Connector information paragraph below.
  • Dedicated shuttles for those with disabilities or in need of extra assistance are available. The St. Paul disability shuttle, post-game, loads on the west side of 23rd Avenue where the shuttle drops off pre-game.

Here is a link to other on-campus parking options, or call the U's Parking and Transportation Services at 612-626-7275.

Minneapolis Parkway closures

Fall is full of events, walks and runs for charity, and three are scheduled in Minneapolis on Saturday.

  • Dave Ryan's Special Olympics 5K: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. along Theodore Wirth Parkway from I-394 up to Lowry Avenue.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) holds walks on West River Parkway from Lake Street to Godfrey Pkwy. Closures from 1 to 5 p.m.
  • The Big Gay Race,a fundraiser for Minnesota United, the group the lobbied in support of gay marriage: 8 to 11 a.m. on Historic Main Street and West River Parkway from Plymouth Avenue N. to Portland Avenue near the Stone Arch Bridge.

Plymouth on Parade

The 16th annual Plymouth on Parade begins at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. It runs along  Plymouth Boulevard from 34th Avenue to 37th avenues. N.

© 2018 Star Tribune