Big traffic headaches are expected this summer for thousands of commuters who use Hwy. 100 in St. Louis Park. So AAA Minneapolis is kicking off its new series of free transportation forums with a discussion and presentation on how the construction project will impact drivers.
If for no other reason, getting information about alternate routes and avoiding the construction area between 36th Street and just north of Minnetonka Blvd. might make it worth attending the meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at AAA's offices at 5400 Auto Club Way (off Hwy. 100 and Excelsior Blvd.).
Officials from the Minnesota Department of Transportation will give an overview of the $60 million project that will reduce the highway to two lanes in each direction from April through October. In addition, there will be a number of ramp closures and a few weekends when the highway in both directions will be shut down between I-394 and Hwy. 7.
The first phase of the project started last fall and construction will be completed in 2016. Among the items to be complete are the reconstruction of the intersections at Hwy. 7 and Minnetonka Blvd. (also known as County Road 5), replacing the structurally deficient bridges at those two intersections and widening Hwy. 100 to three lanes in each direction between 36th Street and 25 1/2 Street, which is just south of I-394.
Repaving the highway, adding additional auxiliary lanes and replacing two railroad bridge are also included in the project.
Transit riders also will be affected. Starting in early March, Metro Transit said it will add extra minutes to the schedules for routes affected by construction.
Called "Highway 100: What You Need to Know," the forum is the first of three or four AAA will host this year, said Garrison McMurtrey, a AAA spokesman.
"We want to bring the public in to talk about transportation issues in the area," he said. With the project to affect more than 136,000 drivers who use Hwy. 100 each day plus those who use nearby streets, "we thought Hwy. 100 would be a good start."
AAA hopes to have three to four more forums on yet-to-be-decided topics throughout the year, McMurtrey said.
A local police officer also will talk about traffic laws regarding construction zones and statues governing the use of city streets. The session will wrap up with a question-and-answer time.
AAA asks participants to register by Friday by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.