The Hwy. 149/Smith Avenue High Bridge over the Mississippi River in St. Paul reopened Wednesday. So did a five-block segment of Hennepin Avenue in south Minneapolis. A week earlier, Hennepin County officials announced that 66th Street in Richfield was open to traffic.
After a long road construction season — or two seasons in the cases of the High Bridge and 66th Street — crews have finished most of their work. For at least the next five months, drivers won’t encounter many major disruptive detours.
But they will still see lots of orange cones and lane restrictions through the winter along Interstate 35W in the heart of Minneapolis and I-35 in the northeast metro, where major projects will carry over into 2019.
Motorists can also expect to encounter closures, even during construction’s “off” season. One of them is on westbound I-94 from I-35W to I-394, which will be closed Monday and Tuesday at 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. The eastbound lanes will shut down the same hours Wednesday and Thursday nights.
The now-open High Bridge was closed for 15 months to allow MnDOT to put on a new bridge deck and improve sidewalks and bike lanes. MnDOT officials will celebrate the completion of the $39 million project with a ribbon cutting at 1 p.m. Dec. 2.
Hennepin Avenue was rebuilt from 31st to 36th streets over the past seven months to make it “more walkable and transit and bicycle friendly” the city of Minneapolis said. In Richfield, Hennepin County reconstructed 66th Street with new pavement, roundabouts at Nicollet and Lyndale avenues, added pedestrian crossings and sidewalks and protected bike lanes.
“This has been an excellent year for our road and bridge construction work,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “We made great progress on some significantly large projects, and we completed hundreds of smaller projects.”
Here are a few that are still ongoing:
1. I-35W south of downtown: Reduced to two southbound lanes from downtown to 43rd Street. Northbound is three lanes open to 3rd Street. This setup will be in place until late 2019. Ramps from 12th Street and 4th Avenue to southbound I-35W are closed.
2. I-35W in northeast: Alternating lane closures and some exit ramps closed between University Avenue and County Road C starting at 6 p.m. Sunday.
3. I-35 in Forest Lake: Southbound is reduced to two lanes from Hwy. 8 to Hwy. 97. Northbound reduced to one lane between Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 97 until 3 p.m. Monday.
4. I-35W in Mounds View and Lino Lakes: Off-peak and nighttime closures in both directions between Hwy. 10 in Mounds View and Lexington Avenue in Lino Lakes.
5. I-35W in Bloomington: Reduced to three and occasionally two lanes in each direction between 106th Street and Cliff Road. After 10 p.m., the freeway may be reduced to one lane in each direction until 5 a.m. the following day. The ramp from 106th Street to southbound I-35W is closed until 2021.
6. I-494 in South St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights: The right lane of westbound I-494 will be closed between Hwy. 61 and Blaine Avenue from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday and two right lanes will be closed from 7 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday.
7. Hwy. 55 in Golden Valley and Minneapolis: Reduced to one lane in both directions between Penn Avenue and Theodore Wirth Parkway from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.