Motorists preparing for crippling Twin Cities freeway slowdowns got a surprise late Saturday as the Minnesota Department of Transportation reopened a stretch of Interstate 94 more than a day early.
The I-94 closure between Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul for much of Saturday, as well as continuing weekend work on Interstate 494, complicated routes to and from a host of Twin Cities events.
The closures of northbound lanes of I-494 through Minnetonka, Plymouth and Maple Grove are scheduled to continue until 5 a.m. Monday, according to MnDOT.
Christine Krueger, a MnDOT spokeswoman, said Saturday morning that the only noticeable freeway backups were around the I-494 northbound intersection with I-394. City streets were another story.
By lunchtime, social media became a portal for diverted drivers to commiserate about long backups like the one that brought much of University Avenue to a standstill.
Parts of Hwy. 169 were also slow or congested between I-694 and Crosstown Hwy. 62 for much of the day.
The closures began as thousands of people were traveling to events around the Twin Cities this weekend at venues including the Minneapolis Convention Center, Target Center and the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.