REDOING THE ROADS
Metro area roads saw numerous changes after the Interstate 35W bridge collapse. Here's a status check on some of them.
Hwy. 280: Most of the emergency upgrades on Hwy. 280 will stay. On the highway's north end, however, the two lanes that flowed into 35W will be reduced to one as soon as the bridge opens. "We stole a lane out of 35W," said Chris Roy, a Minnesota Department of Transportation area manager, and it's time to give it back.
The two traffic signals on 280 were removed last year. Under current plans, only the one at Broadway would return, and only partially -- northbound traffic wouldn't have to stop at all, while southbound traffic would stop to allow northbound vehicles to turn onto Broadway.
The improvised interchange at Larpenteur Avenue will be redone next year under a plan that was in the works before the collapse.
Added freeway lanes: For now, the extra lanes on Interstate 94 between downtown Minneapolis and Hwy. 280 will remain, as will the added lane on eastbound Interstate 694 in the Fridley area and the second lane from Hwy. 100 to 694 east in Brooklyn Center. Because of the emergency, the lanes didn't get the usual environmental and federal approvals, so some of that is happening now, and public input will be sought.
Minneapolis streets: West River Parkway and SE. 2nd Street will reopen Thursday. The city also will make changes on roads directly connecting to the bridge, said city spokesman Matt Laible. To handle the influx of cars onto city streets after the collapse, Minneapolis had rejiggered turn lanes and traffic signals. But for other changes, such as those on Central Avenue, "we are going to give it a little bit of time," he said.
Metro Transit: Except for one leased parking lot along Como Avenue, all of the park-and-ride spots added after the collapse will remain, said Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons. The 22 extra rush-hour buses will be used until the end of the year, while the agency evaluates "how much we might be able to retain," he said.