Back in June, the Minnesota Department of Transportation gave Hwy. 169 commuters an extra lane to help traffic flow and increase capacity on Bloomington Ferry Bridge when floodwaters put crossings at Hwys. 41 and 101 under water.
Now the agency is taking the extra lanes away.
This weekend, MnDOT will re-stripe both directions of Hwy. 169 between Hwy. 101 and Old Shakopee Road and return the highway to its original configuration.
Starting at 4 p.m. Friday, northbound Hwy. 169 will be reduced to a single lane from County Road 18 in Shakopee to Pioneer Trail. Southbound from Pioneer Trail to County Road 18 will go down to a single lane at 7 p.m.
Northbound drivers will go in single file fashion until 5 a.m. Monday.
Southbound motorists get a slight reprieve. MnDOT will open all lanes at 7 a.m. Saturday to accommodate traffic heading to the final weekend of the Renaissance Festival. On Sunday evening, southbound will go back to a single lane until 5 a.m. Monday to all crews to finish stripping the shoulder.
Commuters from the southwest metro may wonder why MnDOT doesn't just leave the extra lane, which has greatly helped traffic flow in the past three months.
"The extra lane reduces the shoulder and lane width, which isn’t an issue during the summer however, it does cause problems for the winter," said spokeswoman Kirsten Klein. "It leaves little room for snow storage and is a safety compromise."