Dire predictions of massive backups on I-694 have not materialized and as a result Maple Grove Transit and Metro Transit have called off detours on its express routes to and from downtown Minneapolis.
As of last Friday, Maple Grove Transit returned Routes 780, 781, 782, 783 and 785 to their normal trips from Maple Grove to Minneapolis using I-694 and I-94.
"694 was moving, our investigation found we could do as well going our regular route than using the detours at this point," said transit administrator Mike Opatz. "We found some delays on our detours, too. We will keep an eye on it."
When a five-month long construction project on 694 began on June 17, MnDOT warned motorists to expect lengthy delays between Hwy. 252 and I-35W through Brooklyn Center, Fridley and New Brighton. So far work has only affected the stretch between East River Road and Hwy. 252, and morning delays have been minimal.
But the potential for bigger traffic jams does remain as the construction zone widens in the coming weeks and does the scope of the work.
Opatz says Maple Grove Transit buses will continue using 694 unless congestion starts adversely affecting travel times. At that time the detours could be reinstated.
The transit agency had rerouted Routes 780, 781 and 783 off off I-694 and down Hwy. 169 and into Minneapolis via I-394. Routes 782 and 785 were traveling via Hwy. 610 and south on Hwy. 252 to I-94 to reach downtown.
Only the express portion of the routes were affected. No stops were eliminated and no local portion of routes were changed.
This week, Metro Transit also canceled detours on express routes760, 767, 852 and 854 primarily serving Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Blaine and communities in the northern suburbs