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Weekend traffic: Your Labor Day travel guide to getting around

  • Blog Post by: Tim Harlow
  • August 29, 2014 - 9:23 AM

Labor Day weekend brings the last long weekend of the summer season and nearly 30 million Americans will take advantage by hitting the roads, the highest total since the recession of 2008, AAA says. Another 2.65 million will get away by air.

With that many cars on the road, expect popular getaway routes to be plugged up Friday afternoon and again on Sunday evening and Monday.  The good news is that gas prices should be at their lowest price on a Labor Day weekend since 2010, according to AAA.

The National Safety Council predicts 400 deaths and 42,000 injuries due to crashes. To that end, the council reminds motorists to refrain from using cell phones will driving, that all occupants wear seat belts and have a designated driver if alcohol is part of the weekend celebration.

Law enforcement will out looking for drunk drivers as a "Safe and Sober" campaign  And on Sunday they also will be enforcing the "Move Over Law," which requires motorists to move over a lane when passing squads and other emergency vehicles that have their flashing lights on.

The State Fair continues through Monday and the Renaissance Festival runs Saturday through Monday in Shakopee.

Metro Transit and Minnesota Valley Transit Authority buses, including routes 440, 444 and 445, will operate on a holiday schedule on Monday. Blue Line and Green Line trains will, too. No Northstar service.

Maple Grove Tranist will have two buses assigned back to back on the Route 781 p.m. trips 1, 2, 3, and Route 785 pm trip #1 to accomodate commuters returning home early for the Labor Day Weekend. No bus service on Monday.

On the roads, MnDOT says the ramp from westbound I-94 to northbound 35E in downtown St. Paul will open by the end of the day Friday. It's been closed for a month. And be extra cautious in work zones, including I-94 between Hwy. 101 in Rogers and Hwy. 241 in St. Michael. Road work in the area could slow traffic. In Monticello, lanes narrow and shift around in a construction zone between County Roads 18 and 75. The speed limit has been lowered to 55 mph. in the area so expect slow traffic.

Here is this weekend list of road projects in the metro area:

I-35E in St. Paul

The ramp from westbound I-94 to northbound I-35E is also closed for another week. A number of ramps between Little Canada Road and Maryland Avenue remained closed as work on adding a new MnPASS lane and reconstruction of 35E continues. Here is a list:

  • Little Canada Road to southbound I-35E
  • Southbound I-35E to eastbound Highway 36
  • Westbound and eastbound Highway 36 to southbound I-35E
  • Roselawn Avenue to southbound I-35E
  • Maryland Avenue to northbound I-35E
  • Northbound I-35E to Roselawn Avenue
  • Roselawn Avenue to northbound I-35E
  • Northbound I-35E to westbound Highway 36
  • Northbound I-35E to eastbound Highway 36
  • Westbound and eastbound Highway 36 to northbound I-35E
  • Northbound I-35E to Little Canada Road

Also note a lane closure on northbound 35E from I-94 to Maryland Avenue from 10 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.

Pennsylvania Avenue/Phalen Boulevard

Both directions of the road is closed at I-35E for two weeks. Motorists will be detoured to Jackson Street, University Avenue and Olive Street to bypass the closure. Once the road reopens, Pennsylvania Avenue/Phalen Boulevard will remain a single lane in each direction at I-35E through late 2015 for bridge construction.

I-35W and University Avenue/4th Street ramp near the U of M

Construction on northbound I-35W between the University Avenue/4th Street exit and Johnson Street continues. Prepare for slow traffic in the area as motorists navigate lane shifts and periodic closures. But some good news is the ramp from 4th Street and University to northbound 35W opened Thursday. The Hennepin Avenue ramp opened earlier this week.

Here are some of the impacts that remain:

  • Northbound I-35W between Washington Avenue and Hennepin Avenue will have periodic lane closures.
  • The three lanes of northbound I-35W between University Ave Northeast and the Johnson Street exit will remain open for the majority of the project, but will shift toward the center median.
  • The New Brighton Boulevard/Stinson Boulevard exit from northbound I-35W is closed. Motorists should use the Johnson Street exit. The New Brighton Boulevard/Stinson Boulevard exit will be closed permanently as crews reconfigure the Johnson Street ramp to serve Johnson Street, New Brighton Boulevard and Stinson Boulevard.

4th Street in downtown Minneapolis

This street closed from I-35W to Washington/Cedar Avenue until late September as crews reconstruct the road and new turn lanes for northbound I-35W entrance ramp.. Drivers can still get onto southbound 35W, but those heading to the University of Minnesota will need to follow this detour: Northbound on Park Avenue, then right on Washington Avenue to Cedar Avenue.

In heads-up, MnDOT will close the flyover bridge from northbound 35W to 3rd Street and downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Hwy. 55 in Eagan

The section of highway between Lone Oak Road and the north intersection of  Hwy. 149 will have alternating lane closures through November. That means single lane in each direction.

Also in the area, Hwy. 149 will be single lane between I-494 and Hwy. 55.

Northbound Hwy 65 in Fridley, Spring Lake Park

Northbound Hwy 65 between Medtronic Parkway/Old Central Avenue and County Road 10 is closed and detoured.

Brooklyn Boulevard Bridge over Hwy 100

The County Road 152/Brooklyn Boulevard Bridge is closed to motorists and pedestrians through mid-October.

Hwy 61 in White Bear Lake

Hwy 61 between White Bear Avenue and north of Hwy 96 is reduced to a single lane. There are multipe streets that are closed where they intersect with Hwy 61.

Hwy 101 and County Road 144 in Rogers

Lane closures; Northbound to eastbound County Road 144 is closed; westbound County Road 144 to northbound Hwy 101 is closed; County Road 144 is closed between James Road and the Hwy 101 construction; Hwy 101 between South Diamond Lake Road and 147th Street is single lane.

I-494 and Cedar Avenue in Bloomington

Mall of America shoppers and those passing by on Cedar Avenue will need to be on alert for traffic switches, narrow lanes and construction between 66th Street and Old Shakopee Road.

The ramps from eastbound I-494 to northbound Cedar Avenue and the northbound Cedar Avenue to westbound I-494 will be closed through mid-October.

Motorists on eastbound I-494 who need to access northbound Cedar Avenue will be detoured to northbound 34th Street and back west on I-494.  Northbound Cedar drivers needing to go west on I-494 should use the west I-494/Hwy. 5 exit one-half mile to the south. Detour signs will be posted, MnDOT says.

Southbound I-35W ramp to westbound Hwy 13

The southbound I-35W ramp to westbound Hwy 13 is closed through late fall as part of a Dakota County project.

County Road 61/Flying Cloud Drive in Chaska

Look for flaggers and construction in the vicinity of County 61/Flying Cloud Drive and the intersection of Hwy. 101.

In addition, both directions of County Road 61 will close east of Great Plains Blvd. at Bluff Creek. Motorists traveling west on County 61 will not have access to the Hwy. 101 bridge into Shakopee. The bridge itself will be open to traffic between Shakopee and Eden Prairie.

94th Street Bridge over I-35W in Bloomington

The 94th Street bridge over I-35W in Bloomington is closed through mid-October. Ramps to and from northbound 94th are expected to be back open by Friday evening, MnDOT says. The southbound I-35W ramps to and from 94th Street will remain closed through mid-September

Hwy. 169 in Edina

The northbound lanes are closed from I-494 to Bren Road. Detour: Westbound I-494 to eastbound I-394 or eastbound I-494 to northbound Hwy. 100, then west on I-394.

I-494 in Plymouth

MnDOT is widening bridges between and other work ahead of a freeway expansion project that will bring a third lane in each direction between Hwy. 55 and Bass Lake Road. The northbound lanes at the Canadian Pacific Rail will be reduced to a single lane so crews can widen the bridge. Night and weekend lane shifts on I-494 can be expected through November as crews remove the guardrails to reconstruct the road shoulders.

Hwy. 7 in St. Louis Park

Be cautious as you pass through the bridge reconstruction zone at Louisiana Avenue. Traffic has been switched to the new Hwy. 7 bridge and a few changes go into effect Friday.

  • The ramp from westbound Hwy 7 to northbound Louisiana Avenue will open.
  • Walker Street will open east of Louisiana Avenue and close west of Louisiana Avenue.
  • Lake Street will open east of Louisiana Avenue and closed west of Louisiana Avenue.

Hwy. 36 in east metro

This long-running project has the road down to a single lane through Oak Park Heights and Stillwater from Hwy. 5 to Hwy. 95.

I-694 ramp to southbound 35E in Little Canada

The exit ramp is closed. Road maintenance work is in progress.Expect delays through the completion of the project set for Sept. 19.

Traffic will detour east on I-694 to Hwy. 61 and use the loops to return westbound to southbound I-35E.

Minneapolis Parkways

The Minnesota Distance Running Association takes over Webber Parkway and Victory Memorial Drive on Monday from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

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