Our lastest round of snow and cold may make it seem like winter, but festivals, parades and major road construction projects getting underway will remind us that it really is spring.
The Minnesota Wild play their first home playoff game in 5 years with a game against the Chicago Blackhawks at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Festivals and parades
Next door, thousands of people will take in the annual Festival of Nations at the RiverCentre. The fete running Friday through Sunday features music, dance and food of scores of ethnic cultures.
Across the Mississippi River, revelers will commemorate the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War during St. Paul's annual Cinco de Mayo celebration Saturday and Sunday. Look for street closings in the area. The annual parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday at Wabasha Street and Plato Blvd. travels along Cesar Chavez St. to Ada Street.
Metro Transit routes 67, 68 and 71 will be on detour on Saturday:
Route 67 – 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Buses will travel on Winifred, Humboldt, Sidney, Robert, Plato and Wabasha in both directions. Customers should board buses on Fillmore at Wabasha or on Winifred, just west of Wabasha.
Route 68 – 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Buses will travel on Robert Street between State and Chavez in both directions. Customers should board buses on Robert at Plato, on northbound Robert at State and on southbound Robert at Curtice.
Route 71 – 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Buses that serve Plato & Chester will travel on Concord, Hwy. 52, Plato, Fillmore and Robert in both directions. Customers should board buses on Fillmore at Robert, on the Fillmore-Plato loop or on Concord just east of Hwy. 52.
St. Paul Farmers Market
A number of Metro Transit buses in downtown St. Paul will be on detour every Saturday between 4 a.m and 3 p.m. and every Sunday between 6 a.m. and 3 pm. due to the opening of the farmers market. Routes on detour include 21, 61, 63, 64, 70 and 74.
In Minneapolis, let's hope the annual May Day Parade and festival that follows in Powderhorn Park will bring some spring-like warmth to the area. The annual parade kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday. The route follows Bloomington Avenue from 25th Street to 34th Street, then west to Powerhorn Park. Look for 25th Street to be closed earlier in the day between Bloomington and Cedar Avenues for parade staging.
The American Heart Association's Heart Walk will take place Saturday 9 a.m. to noon on Nicollet Mall. Metro Transit routes 14, 94 and those that operate on the Mall will be on detour.
Bridge work on 35E/35 in Burnsville
A major road project in the south metro begins at 10 p.m. Friday. Southbound I-35E will be closed at County Road 42 as the Minnesota Department of Transportation begins construction on a new flyover bridge that carries traffic from 35E to southbound 35. The closure will be in effect until June 2.
In conjunction with the bridge work, northbound I-35W will be closed between the I-35E/W split to County Road 42 from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. A detour will direct motorists to follow I-35E.
Southbound 35W will be closed from County Road 42 and the 35E/W split from 10 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday. Crews will remove the current bridge deck. Drivers will be detoured via Buck Hill Road to Crystal Lake Road where they can get back onto southbound 35.
The bridge work is the beginning of a summer-long project in which MnDOT will do surface repair between Cliff Road in Eagan and the Elko/New Market exit.
Work on Hwy. 52
Weather permitting, the southbound lanes will be closed from 8 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday for lane painting.
As a reminder, the new crossover carrying motorists from the old Lafayette Bridge to the new bridge is now open, and vehicles longer than 35-feet, including trucks, school and charter buses, are prohibited from using it. All northbound drivers will have to exit at Plato Blvd, or follow the detour via I-494, Hwy. 61 and westbound 94. Southbound drivers should use eastbound I-94 to Hwy. 61 to 494.
Hwy. 100 at Bass Lake Road
Highway 100 in both directions will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday to allow crews to remove the Bass Lake Road bridge. Ramps at Bass Lake will remain open so motorists can get through, albiet much slower than normal.
Work on 94 in St. Paul
Motorists on I-94 will see the left lane closed between Century Avenue and the I-694/494 interchange through mid-May. MnDOT crews are installing new overhead electronic message boards.
New cable medians on 35E
MnDOT crews are installing new cable barriers in the center median along I-35E between County Road. 96 and County Road J in White Bear Lake. The left lane in both directions will be closed during non-rush hour periods through June 1.
Phalen Blvd. closed through Monday
Watermain repair and utility work on Phalen Blvd. in St. Paul is taking longer than expected. The road will remain closed between Mississippi Street and Olive Street (just east of I-35E) until 9 a.m. Monday.
The detour will take motorists and pedestrians along Mississippi Street, University Avenue and Olive Street.
Watermain repair in Wayzata
State Hwy. 101 between Minnetonka Blvd. and McGinty Road in Wayzata and Minnetonka will be closed at 9 a.m. Friday for watermain repair.
Park and Portland Avenue bridges close Monday
Starting Monday, the Park and Portland Avenue bridges over I-94 in Minneapolis will close to all motorized and non-motorized traffic. The bridges will remain closed through early August as MnDOT puts on new decks and sidewalks. Bicycle traffic and pedestrians will be detoured via Chicago Av. S., although other routes into and out of downtown include 1st and LaSalle Avenues, 3rd Avenue and 11th Avenue S.
In conjunction with the project, portions of I-94 and I-35W will be closed during overnight hours Monday through Thursday.
Also on tap for next week is a closure of Hwy. 101 between Lyman Blvd. and Pioneer Trail in Chanhassen.
MnDOT crews will be replacing protective gate arms on the I-394 HOT lane between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m .weekdays, plus on evenings and weekends as necessary. The work will take place between I-94 and Hwy. 100.
The HOT lanes will be open weekdays: Eastbound from 6 to 10 a.m. and westbound from 2 to 7 p.m. The also will be open during major events as needed, MnDOT says. The project will run through July.