Motorists heading out of town for the last big weekend of the summer will find it bit easier as the Minnesota Department of Transportation will shut down many road projects for the Labor Day weekend. All lanes of Interstate 94 between St. Cloud and Collegeville will be open and the detour on Hwy. 169 between St. Peter and Mankato will be lifted but there will be some lane restrictions.
To the north, drivers will find single on Interstate 35 between Pine City and Hinckley and on Hwy. 169 north of Milaca. The DOT is warning drivers to expect major delays in those areas.
“Although major construction projects will be on hold for the weekend, motorists may still encounter lane restrictions and traffic delays,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “Your safety is important to us, so we ask that you plan your routes, stay alert and drive carefully in work zones.”
Good news for local drivers: The Franklin Avenue bridge is back open, but there will be lane restrictions at times. West River Parkway in south Minneapolis also is back open.
Locally, traffic generating events include the State Fair, Twins games at Target Field and Lynx games Friday and Sunday in downtown Minneapolis. The Saints are in action Friday through Monday at CHS Field in downtown St. Paul. The Renaissance Festival continues in Shakopee so look for heavy traffic on Hwy. 169.
Gas prices are on the rise heading into Labor Day weekend, AAA says. But drivers will pay about 27 cents less than they did at this time last year and are on track to pay the lowest Labor Day gas prices since 2004, the motoring club said.
A DWI enforcement continues through Monday.
Here is where you'll find major road construction and possible delays:
1. I-494 in Plymouth: Traffic between Fish Lake Road in Maple Grove and Hwy. 55 in Plymouth has been shifted to the southbound side of the freeway and is reduced to two lanes each direction until Nov. 4. Ramp closures: Westbound 394 to southbound 494 and southbound 494 from Carlson Pkwy. Other ramps south of Hwy. 55 are open. East Fish Lake Rd in Maple Grove spanning I-494 closed until Sept. 12.
2. Hwy. 100 in St. Louis Park: Intermittent lane closures in the vicinity of Excelsior Boulevard and Minnetonka Boulevard. A temporary ramp from southbound 100 to 36th Street/Excelsior Blvd. is open.
3. I-35W in Arden Hills: Lanes narrow in the vicinity of County Road H due to bridge construction.
4. I-694 in Shoreview: Westbound traffic has two lanes separated by a concrete barrier between I-35E and Lexington Avenue. Ramp from westbound 694 to Rice Street and Lexington Avenue now open.
5. I-35E in the northeast metro: Intermittent lane closures between County roads 96 and J. County 96 is single lane from Centerville Road to White Bear Parkway.
6. Hwys. 61 and 97 in Forest Lake: MnDOT says work on the roundabout at Hwy. 61 and 97 is nearly complete, but look for some single lane traffic in the area.
7. Hwy. 8 in Franconia: The highway is closed between the south junction of Hwy. 95 in Franconia and downtown Taylors Falls.
8. I-94 from St. Paul to Maplewood: The left westbound lane between Mounds Blvd and Century Ave. is permanently closed. The left eastbound lane is closed most weekdays and Saturdays through mid-September.
9. Hwy. 36 at Lexington Avenue: Westbound traffic has been shifted onto new permanent lanes. Eastbound is still using a bypass at Lexington Avenue. Ramps at Lexington remain closed.
10. Hwy. 5 in St. Paul: Single lane in both directions between Hwy. 55 and Davern Street.
11. Hwy. 3 in Farmington: Alternating lane closures between Hwy 50 and 179th Street.
12. Hwy. 61 in Denmark Township: Crews are prepping the road for construction in both directions of Hwy 61 from just north of Hwy 10 to just south of 127th Street.