Drivers have just six more days until the Lowry Hill Tunnel gets back to normal. That's the word from the Minnesota Department of Transportation which announced Friday that all lanes in both directions will be open in time for the morning rush hour on Thursday Aug. 31.
It's all weather dependent, said spokesman David Aeikens, but for drivers who have dealt with three months of construction and detours, the news might have their stress-o-meters dropping already.
To get the lanes inside the tunnel open 11 days ahead of schedule, MnDOT will shut down the tunnel in both directions from 10 p.m. Tuesday until 5 a.m. Wednesday.
Additionally, with the ramp from east I-394 to east I-94 opening at 12:01 a.m. Monday, MnDOT will keep one eastbound lane through the tunnel open from Tuesday night through Wednesday morning. Drivers coming off I-394 will have access to east I-94, but drivers coming into Minneapolis on east I-94 will not.
By Wednesday morning, all three eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes through the tube will be open to traffic
During a second closure from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday, only the westbound lanes will be closed while all eastbound will remain open. On Thursday night, MnDOT will be replacing lighting that was broken by large vehicles who snapped off the fixtures while passing through.
In more good news for drivers, the flyover ramp from north I-35W to west I-94, Hwy. 55 to east I-94 and 4th Avenue to west I-94 also will be open by Thursday.
"This is a significant step," Aeikens said. "This is an important area on I-94 and it's good to get it open and normal."
North of the tunnel, work will continue on I-94 between Hwy. 55 and I-694. That work is scheduled to run until Oct. 20.