The heat wave that made it feel like a broiler this week will break just in time for the weekend, and that should make it for delightful for Saturday's Aquatennial fireworks in downtown Minneapolis, and any other outdoor festivals.
The Minnesota Twins swing back into action with games Friday through Sunday against Cleveland at Target Field. Next door, the Package Tour featuring New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men will rock out at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Target Center.
The St. Paul Saints host the Grand Prairie Airhogs Friday through Sunday at Midway Stadium.
Meanwhile, portions of two major highways (see below) will be shut down for weekend road work. Other highways will have lane closures and ramp closures. Here are some tips and helpful information to get around.
It's one of the largest pyrotechnic extravaganzas in the nation, so expect thousands of people to stream into downtown Minneapolis for the 10 p.m. show along the Mississippi River, with some arriving earlier for pre-fireworks entertainment. Be prepared for heavy traffic, and for motorists who may not normally venture downtown.
The city will have ambassadors in bright green shirts on street corners to help direct motorists and pedestrians.
For those who drive downtown, here is a list of pay lots and ramps. Parking meters in some place in downtown are enforced until 10 p.m., but others are free on weekends. Be sure to read the sticker on your parking space to know if you need to feed the parking machines.
West River Parkway will be closed to vehicular traffic between Portland Avenue and Plymouth Avenue from noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday. The Stone Arch Bridge and Historic Main Street also will be closed.
Metro Transit has suspended Blue Line track work due to high numbers of riders expected to take the train downtown. For fireworks fans, it might be easiest to get off at the Downtown East/Metrodome station and walk the four blocks over to the Mississippi River. The other option is the Government Center station at 5th Street and 2nd Avenue S.
Metro Transit also will run special Northstar Commuter trains for this weekend's Twins games at 7:10 p.m. Friday, 6:10 p.m. Saturday and 1:10 p.m. Sunday. Since trains depart 30 minutes after the last out, those who want to catch Saturday's game and fireworks won't be able to take advantage of the service.
Metro Transit will offer a fan express bus for the Twins games from the County Road 73 Park and Ride off Interstate 394. Click here for a schedule and fare information.
Highway 212 closure
MnDOT continues its repaving of Hwy. 212 between the Crosstown and I-494 in Eden Prairie. This weekend, from 8 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, the eastbound lanes will be shut down. Ramps from Flying Cloud Drive and Shady Oak Road to eastbound Hwy. 212 also will be closed.
Detour: The official detour will take motorists east on I-494, north on Hwy. 100 up to the Crosstown.
Highway 169 closure
This will be the first of three consecutive weekends in which northbound Hwy. 169 will be shut down between Hwy. 55 and I-694/94 through Golden Valley, New Hope and Brooklyn Park. All ramps in the affected area that lead to Hwy. 169 also will be closed.
The work begins at 9 p.m. Friday and runs until 5 a.m. Monday.
Detour: Follow westbound Hwy 55 or westbound I-394 to northbound I-494, then eastbound I-94 back to Hwy 169.
Also be aware that Hwy. 169 in both directions will have a single lane configuration in both directions at times between Stage Coach Road and Old Shakopee Road. The closures are necessary so crews can build crossovers in preparation for the upcoming roadwork on the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. That will begin on July 26.
In Edina and Hopkins, southbound 169 will be reduced to a single lane between Hwy. 7 and Londonderry Drive from 8 p.m. Friday until 9 a.m. Saturday. Exits at Excelsior Blvd. and Interlachen Blvd. also will be blocked.
I-35E in the south metro
In Burnsville, the ramp from County Road 42 to northbound 35E will close Friday at 10 p.m. The ramp is scheduled to reopen by 5 a.m. Monday.
Detour: County Road 42 to County Road 11 and then to McAndrews Road/County Road 38.
Road work also continues from County Road 42 up to Cedar Avenue. Traffic will be single lane in each direction. Look for work to expand north to Diffley Road next week.
I-694 in the north metro
The project has the freeway in both directions reduced to two lanes during the day and a single lane from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day.
Commuters discovered this week that the construction zone on 694 has expanded. On the eastbound lanes the work zone spans from Hwy. 252 in Brooklyn Center to Long Lake Road in New Brighton. MnDOT says by Sunday night that will reach to 35W.
The ramp from Long Lake Road to eastbound 694 is now closed and will remain closed until sometime in August. Also look for ramps at University Avenue and Central Avenue to eastbound 694 to remain closed. For access, use Silver Lake Road or follow MnDOT's detour, which takes motorists west to East River Road.
Work on the westbound lanes is still confined to the area from East River Road to Hwy. 252, but look for more closures in the near future.
University Avenue/Hwy. 47 in Minneapolis
University Avenue/Hwy. 47 in northeast Minneapolis will be closed from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday from Hennepin Avenue and Broadway. This will allow for construction at the intersection of 4th Street and University Av.
Motorists could also experience periodic lane closures during the weekend between Central Avenue and 1st Ave. NE. as part of a pavement rehabilitation project. That work will eventually spread to 27th Avenue NE.
MnDOT continues its work on the new interchange at English Street. The highway is closed in both directions between Hwy. 61 and White Bear Avenue through Aug. 31.
Detour: The posted detour takes drivers along I-35E and I-694 back to Hwy 36.
Both directions of Hilton Trail at the intersection of Hwy. 36 are closed until mid-September. Motorists will be detoured via Hwy. 36 to Lake Elmo Trail to County Road 12/N. 75th Street back to Hilton Trail.
I-694 in the east metro
Construction work will bring lane closures on Saturday between Century Avenue (Hwy. 120) and State Hwy. 5. Here is what will be affected:
Eastbound I-694, the right lane from 4:30 to 9 a.m. That also includes the entrance ramp from eastbound Hwy. 36.
Westbound the right lane from 6:30 to 11 a.m.
The highway in both directions is closed for 50 days between Washington County Road 12 and Hwy. 16. MnDOT is doing complete pavement resurfacing and culvert construction.
Suggested alternate route: County Rd 12 to County Rd 16 and back to Hwy 95.
Look for the highway to be reduced to a single lane in both directions between Texas Avenue and Louisiana Avenue in St. Louis Park. That will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Just a friendly reminder that the ramp from eastbound 494 to 34th Avenue is closed for the next two months for construction. Detour: Take 494 to 24th Avenue, then back east via Airport Road.