The Minnesota Department of Transportation will shut down a portion of Interstate 494 for resurfacing and traffic switches are in store on Interstate 694 in the northern suburbs and on Hwys. 95 and 36 near the new St. Croix River crossing south of Stillwater. Several other road and lane closures are on tap, too.
The end is in sight for construction on I-694 through the northern suburbs, but this weekend will bring lots of changes for eastbound and westbound drivers.
Eastbound: The last of the lane switches take place on Saturday. That's when the lane alignments between Snelling Avenue and 35W will become permanent. As part of that, the ramp from eastbound 694 to southbound Snelling/Hamline will close for two weeks. Crews will complete the final grading and put in curbs and gutters. During the closure, motorists will be detoured via southbound 35W to eastbound Hwy. 36.
Westbound: Concrete repair continues between 35W and Hwy. 252 so lanes will be restricted. But in some good news, several ramps and loops will reopen Sunday night:
- Southbound I-35W to westbound I-694.
- Westbound I-694 to and from Long Lake Road.
- University Avenue (Highway 47) to westbound I-694.
- Westbound I-694 to East River Road.
Another round of ramp closings will go into effect on Monday as the project rolls on. Work will continue into November.
Weather permitting, the eastbound lanes from I-35W to Cedar Avenue in Bloomington will be closed for resurfacing from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. Detour: Traffic will be directed north on 35W to eastbound Crosstown and south on Cedar Avenue.
All westbound lanes will remain open.
Look for a lane closure on northbound I-35E between Pennsylvania Avenue and Cayuga Street from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Crews will be patching the road surface.
White Bear Avenue
MnDOT will be doing traffic signal maintenance on northbound White Bear Avenue at Hwy. 36 in Maplewood from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The ramp from White Bear Avenue to eastbound Hwy. 36 will remain open while the signal system pole is replaced. Detour: East on Hwy. 36 to McKnight Road, then back west on Hwy. 36 to White Bear Avenue.
Southbound traffic will not be affected.
Both directions of Louisiana Avenue in St. Louis Park from Hwy. 7 to W. Lake Street will close at 10 p.m. Friday and reopen at 5 a.m. Monday. Crews are constructing a new bypass at the intersection of Louisiana and Hwy. 7. Detour: Motorists should use Texas Avenue, Cambridge Avenue and Lake Street to get around the work.
Hwy. 95 and Hwy. 36
Motorists heading to Stillwater or Bayport should expect delays this weekend as MnDOT reroutes traffic onto newly constructed lanes on Hwy. 36. The change is expected to be complete by 6 p.m. Sunday.
The interchange of Hwy. 95 and 36 will be controlled with a traffic light. In addition, Hwy. 36 will be a single lane in each direction from Osgood Avenue to Hwy. 95. Motorists on Hwy. 95 will have places with single-lane traffic and two-lanes in each direction in other spots. Pay attention to the signs as it can get confusing. I've included a map below so you can follow along.
Metro Transit light rail
Metro Transit will be working on the southern-most portion of the Blue Line from 7:30 p.m. Friday until 3 p.m. Sunday. That means trains will be operating on the whole route in time for Sunday's Vikings-Packers game.
During the maintenance operation, buses will replace trains between Terminal 2 and the MSP Airport and the Mall of America. However, the Bloomington Central Station will remain closed until 3:30 a.m. Monday, No Blue Line buses will run from this station on Sunday evening. Metro Transit says riders should board at either the American Boulevard or 28th Avenue stations instead.
The 411 on GETTING TO THE VIKINGS GAME
The arch rival Green Bay Packers invade the Metrodome for the final time on Sunday,and you can expect lots of out-of-town traffic to come with them. It's a Sunday night game, so traffic may not be horrible getting to the Metrodome as fans will come at various times during the day. It's getting out of downtown that will be the challenge. Let's hope the Purple Gang can send the locals home happy.
If you are going to the game, here are a few tips, whether you drive, take the train or bus, or walk:
The City of Minneapolis will block off the following streets in the vicinity of the Metrodome beginning at 5:30 p.m. and keep them free from traffic until 2 hours after the game ends, roughly 11:30 p.m:
- 5th Street between Park Avenue and 11th Avenue.
- Chicago Avenue/Kirby Puckett Place from 4th Street to 6th Street.
- 4th Street between Park Avenue and I-35W
- Norm McGrew Place between 3rd and 4th Streets.
It's always congested around the Metrodome, so the best advice is to park well away from the stadium . Interstates 394 and 94 offer direct access to Ramps A, B and C near Target Field and Target Center. From there, walk or catch a Metro Transit bus (Route 16 on 4th Street) or light rail train on 5th Street for 50 cents from your favorite ramp or lot. A reminder that the west platform at the Target Field light-rail station is closed.
It's also cheaper there as lots closest to the dome charge $20 or more. Here are links to downtown ramps, http://www.minneapolismn.gov/parking/ramps/index.htm.
Here is a link to downtown Minneapolis parking meters and rates, http://www.mplsparking.com/CurrentMeterMap.pdf
Parking for people with a handicap is available at the Hennepin County offices between 5th and 6th Streets on Park Avenue. Handicap street parking is also available between 3rd and 4th Streets on Chicago Avenue.
Arriving by light rail
The Metro Blue Line has been a popular way for fans to get to the game. But as game time approaches, cars are packed, so the best advice is to catch an early train. Blue Line trains stop directly across the street from the Metrodome.
Train riders can take advantage of free parking at the 28th Avenue, Fort Snelling and Lake Street/Midtown stations. Northbound trains run about every 7 to 10 minutes for most of the day.
After the game, Metro Transit will augment Blue Line service with buses that will take riders directly to the Fort Snelling and 28th Avenue Park & Ride lots. They will until post-game crowds have disbursed. Catch them near the Downtown East/Metrodome light-rail station.
Regular rail fare of $1.75 after applies, or buy a 6-hour rail pass and avoid having to buy a second ticket to get back home.
New this year is the Metro Red Line. Connect to the Bus Rapid Transit line at the Mall of America. It runs from there to the cities of Apple Valley and Eagan. The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority provides local service to the Cedar Grove and Apple Valley Transit Stations
Metro Transit also will run a special Northstar Commuter train to the game. The train will leave Big Lake at 5:06 p.m. and arrive at Target Field Station at 5:55 p.m. Departure is one hour after the game ends. Here is a link to the schedule and fares.
Fans in the southwest metro can take advantage of express bus service offered by SouthWest Transit. Motor coach buses will depart from the new East Creek Station, as well as the Southwest Village Station in Chanhassen and the Eden Prairie Station. It's only $4.50 round trip. Here is a link to the schedule.
The following Metro Transit routes serve the Metrodome:
From the north or south, Routes 5, 7, 14, 19 and 22
From the west, Routes 7 and 9
From the east, Routes 3, 16 and 94.
Outside bicycle parking is available cost free. The parking attendants at the loading dock entrance at 11th Avenue and 5th Street can direct you.