Downtown Minneapolis will be the epicenter of entertainment this weekend with thousands expected to turn out for Pride Twin Cities.
The Minnesota Twins are home for a three-game series Friday through Sunday at Target Field. Next door, the Minnesota Lynx play the Los Angeles Sparks in a WNBA tilt at 7 p.m. Sunday at Target Center.
In St. Paul, it's the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in Mears Park that will heat things up. Several suburbs also are holding community festivals, so be aware of lane and road closings for bike rides, parades and related events.
A new road work project begins near Terminal 2 at the MSP Airport. And other high-profile projects continue bringing lane and full closures on major routes in the Twin Cities.
And AAA Minneapolis holds a kick-off event to preview its new roadside assistance program for bicyclists.
DDI to debut on 494 at 34th Avenue
A new project that could affect passengers heading to or from Terminal 2 begins Friday. A new Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) is going in at I-494 and 34th Avenue and will likely bring traffic delays and some detours over the next few months.
Starting Friday, the westbound ramp from I-494 to 34th Avenue will be closed. Drivers should proceed to 24th Avenue and follow Airport Lane back to 34th Avenue.
What is a DDI? Named to Popular Science's "Best of What's New" list in 2009, a DDI is an intersection that allows two directions of traffic to temporarily cross to the left side of the road. A DDI moves high volumes of traffic through an intersection without increasing the number of lanes. This movement provides easier access to a busy divided highway. (MnDOT explains how it works with a visual)
According to MnDOT, a DDI reduces congestion by allowing traffic to keep moving through an intersection. It also improves safety by allowing free flowing turns when entering or exiting the roadway, eliminating left turns against oncoming traffic and reducing the number of traffic signal phases.
What makes this project unique is that it will be the first DDI of its kind in the nation to incorporate both motorized traffic and a rail line. The project is being conducted by MnDOT and the Metropolitan Airports Commission along with Metro Transit and the City of Bloomington.
This will be the third weekend for a repaving project on southbound Hwy. 169 from I-94 to Hwy. 55. Lanes will be shut down from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. Northbound lanes will remain open.
To the south, the single lane configuration in both directions continues from the Crosstown to Hwy. 7. Ramps at Bren Road, Excelsior Blvd. and Interlachen are closed until mid July.
The freeway will be reduced to a single lane in each direction between Hwy. 252 and East River Road from 7 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday. However, be prepared for that zone to widen further east as the contractor may begin work anywhere between Hwy. 252 and 35W. Ramps and loops along that stretch might be closed, too.
The concrete repair project continues between Cedar Avenue and the I-35E/W split in Burnsville. It’s single lane in each direction. Look for a traffic shift on Monday when southbound traffic will move to the northbound lanes between Cedar Avenue and Cliff Road.
The highway is closed in both directions between Hwy. 61 and White Bear Avenue as work on the new English Street interchange continues. The highway is down to one lane in each direction between Hwy. 61 and Edgerton Street to allow for rebuilding of the Keller Lake Bridge.
To the east, look for delays on Hwy. 36 at DeMontreville Trail in Lake Elmo. Crews are putting in a new intersection and turn lanes. DeMontreville Trail will be closed at Hwy. 36 until Monday. Motorists should follow the posted detour of Highland Trail.
The popular biking and walking trail is closed where it passes under Hwy. 36 until Monday.
With the passage of the new Marriage Equality Act, this year’s Pride Twin Cities at Loring Park may be one of the largest in years. The event features a parade on Sunday on Hennepin Avenue from 3rd Street to Loring Park. Look for other road closures in the immediate area.
A few Metro Transit routes will be affected by the parade. They include Routes 5, 7, 9, 14, 19 and 22.
Twin Cities Jazz Festival
Expect a crowd in and around Mears Park as the 15th Twin Cities Jazz Festival continues Friday and Saturday. Sixth Street between Wacouta and Sibley Streets is blocked off.
Metro Transit Routes 21, 53, 61, 64, 70, 74, 294, 351, 361 and 417 are on detour during the event. Minnesota Valley Transit Authority Routes 480, 484 and 489 will be on detour.
Central Avenue closing
The always festive Columbia Heights Jamboree continues through Sunday. On Friday, Central Avenue from 45th Avenue to 40th Avenue NE. will be closed for a parade from roughly 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The parade runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Metro Transit routes 10, 11, 59 and 801 will be on detour.
Theodore Wirth Parkway between Golden Valley Road and I-394 will be closed to vehicular traffic due to the City of Lakes Tri-Loppet from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Last week’s storm felled numerous trees and branches. City crews will likely be out doing cleanup work, so be aware of impromptu lane and road closings throughout the city.
In South St. Paul, the annual Kaposia Days will bring street closures on 2nd Avenue North, 3rd Street, Southview Blvd., 5th Avenue and 8th Street. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday
Look for lots of bicyclists on the streets of Roseville at the Tour de Roses 10-mile family bike ride takes place at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Eagan throws its annual Art Party in Central Park, just off Pilot Knob Road and Central Pkwy. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
AAA Bicycle service launch party
AAA Minneapolis will begin offering roadside assistance to bicyclists starting Monday. To promote the service, the agency will hold a party at its headquarters at 5400 Auto Club Road in St. Louis Park from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The fun includes a bicycle expo, maintenance and safety demonstration, a 5K bike ride and prizes.
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More From The Drive
The opportunities for major backups on Interstate 94 in downtown Minneapolis were present Monday morning, but traffic continued to flow smoothly during the first morning commute with the Lowry Hill Tunnel reduced to two lanes in each direction.
Motorists can expect major traffic tie-ups across the metro as the Minnesota Department of Transportation starts reconfiguring Interstate 94 in downtown Minneapolis just as tens of thousands of people will stream into the city for large events that include the Twin Cities Pride Festival in Loring Park and the Back to the 50s street rod extravaganza at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
Rain has pushed back the start of today's Twins-White Sox game at Target Field but that won't stop Metro Transit from shutting down light-rail service at 6:45 p.m. Thursday as scheduled.
Commuters traveling along the I-94 corridor between Minneapolis and St. Paul Monday morning saw a heavy police presence, particularly in the Midway area.
The biggest traffic jams this weekend are likely to be on I-35 north of the Twin Cities as thousands make the trip to and from Duluth for Saturday's Grandma's Marathon.