Now that most of the road construction projects that have hamstrung motorists for months have wrapped up — and our great run of mild fall weather continues — this may be one of the best weekends of the year to get out for a drive.
Metro area motorists will find Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) crews picking up the last of the cones and barrels along Hwy. 100 in St. Louis Park on Saturday, bringing an end to the two-year $60-million project to expand the highway to three lanes and replace bridges between Interstate 394 and W. 36th Street. However, the ramp from southbound Hwy. 100 to 50th St./Vernon Av. will remain closed until mid-December.
On Friday, MnDOT completed work adding a third lane on I-494 between Hwy. 55 and Bass Lake Road through Plymouth and Maple Grove.
Drivers will find a few lingering projects with intermittent lane and ramp closures, such as work on the Hwy. 36 and Lexington Avenue interchange and on I-35E in Vadnais Heights. The biggest travel concerns are likely to be on routes leading out of the metro as throngs head out of town for the opening of the firearms deer hunting season.
In town, expect extra traffic around TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon where the Gopher football team plays Purdue. On Sunday, thousands will make their way to U.S. Bank Stadium for Sunday's Vikings-Lions game at noon. Target Center hosts Grammy-winning country music star Keith Urban on Saturday night.
Here is where you'll run into road work and possible delays:
1. I-494 in Plymouth: Three lanes in each direction between Hwy. 55 and I-694/94 opened Friday.
2. Hwy. 100 in St. Louis Park: Watch for temporary closures between W. 36th Street and Minnetonka Blvd. through Saturday.
3. County Road 81 in Brooklyn Park: Single lane from 63rd Avenue to West Broadway Avenue.
4. I-35W in Mounds View: Lanes narrow in the vicinity of County Road H due to bridge construction. Ramps to and from County H to 35W closed.
5. I-694 in Shoreview: Westbound traffic has two lanes separated by a concrete barrier between I-35E and Lexington Avenue.
6. I-35E in northeast metro: Intermittent lane closures between Hwy. 96 to County Road J.
7. Hwy. 8 in Franconia: Closed between the south junction of Hwy. 95 in Franconia and downtown Taylors Falls.
8. White Bear Avenue in St. Paul: Road work between I-94 to Beech Street; closed to all traffic between Wilson Avenue and 3rd Street.
9. Hwy. 36 in Roseville: Ramps to and from eastbound Hwy. 36 to Lexington closed.
10. Washington Avenue in Minneapolis: Westbound closed from 2nd Avenue S. to Hennepin Avenue.
11. Cedar Avenue in Eagan: Northbound reduced to two lanes between Diffley Road and Nicols Road. Ramp from westbound Hwy. 13 to northbound Cedar closed.