There will be lots of pomp and circumstance for the much anticipated Saturday opening of the Green Line with bands and festivities all along the 11-mile route from Union Depot to Target Field. But the best news for those trying to get around town is that all Metro Transit services will be free Saturday and Sunday. This includes buses, light-rail trains and the Northstar Commuter line.
Additionally rides on Minnesota Valley Transit buses and the Metro Red Line will be free both days.
We have no freeway closings this weekend, but several projects will bring lane closures that could delay your travels.
Meanwhile several big events have the potential to generate traffic, including the Lynx vs. Phoenix Sunday at Target Center, the North Star Grand Prix bike races Friday in Uptown and Sunday in Stillwater, the Stone Arch Bridge Festival in Minneapolis and Northern Spark, an arts festvial that drew 45,000 people last year.
Green Line opening
Green Line opening ceremonies and celebration events take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday following the official ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. at St. Paul's Union Depot. Trains will start running at 10 a.m.
Metro Transit has added a special Northstar run leaving Big Lake at 8:11 a.m. Saturday to get riders to the fun. St. Cloud's Northstar Link will have extra service to connect with Northstar trains. That service, too, will be free.
"Very large crowds are expected on opening day and trains are unlikely to run on a normal service schedule. Frequent supplemental opening day bus service will operate parallel to the Green Line between LRT stations to provide additional travel options between events," Metro Transit said.
MnDOT is continuing emergency repairs of an unsteady slope above Hwy. 13 in Mendota. The highway is closed until Tuesday from Lexington Avenue and 2nd Street. The bike trail that runs along Hwy. 13 is also closed.
Work on Hwy. 169 through Minnetonka and Edina continues. The southbound lanes are closed from Bren Road to the Crosstown. The detour is via Hwy. 100 and I-494.
No full closures are planned on I-694 between 35W and Hwy. 252, but be ready for some ramp closures and lane restrictions between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. all weekend.
Hwy. 61 in White Bear Lake is reduced to a single lane in both directions from County 96 to White Bear Avenue for a repaving project.
Look for lane closures on Saturday on I-35 in Lakeville between 210th Street and Kendrick Trail. Work on 35E will bring lane restrictions between Cliff Road and County Road 42. Also be ready for cones on 35E between University Avenue and Little Canada Road in Maplewood as work on the MnPASS project continues. Bridges at Larpenteur Avenue and the Gateway Trail are under construction.
The westbound lanes of Hwy. 10 in Mounds View will be shut down for road work from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Traffic on Larpenteur Avenue is still restricted to the inside lanes through Maplewood and Falcon Heights. New signal systems are going in at Dale Street, where a four-way stop remains in place. There also are stop signs controlling intersections at Victoria Street and Parkway Drive.
Work continues at Hwy. 96 and Dale Street. Westbound traffic is now reduced to one lane between Mackubin Street & Dale Street. Also look for restrictions between 35W and Hamline Avenue.
CenterPoint Energy is replacing natural gas lines in downtown Minneapolis, and that will curtail parking on a couple streets. Signs banning parking on 4th Street between 1st Avenue N. and Hennepin Avenue will go up on Sunday. Work will begin on Monday.
On 3rd Street N., street restoration is now complete and traffic control devices were removed. Parking is now allowed on the east side of 2nd Avenue N. and on both sides of 3rd Street N., between 1st Avenue N. and 2nd Avenue N.
On Saturday, traffic will be detoured on 1st Avenue N., from 5th Street N. to 4th Street N., directing traffic to the west. No parking signs will be posted in this area as well as the east side of 1st Avenue N., from 4th Street N. to one-half a block north until Tuesday.
Fun is the reason for a couple of Minneapolis Parkway closings. Historic Main Street will be closed near St. Anthony Main from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for the Stone Arch Bridge Festival. All of Nokomis Pkwy. will be off limits to motor vehicles from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday for Greenway's Viking Gridiron Gallop.
Bicycle racers will take over some streets in the Uptown district of Minneapolis. Look for closures near Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street and surrounding streets on Friday evening. The action shifts to downtown Stillwater Sunday morning and afternoon.