The Minnesota Department of Transportation will carry out more than 200 construction projects this year, and motorists will feel the impact starting this weekend with the closure of part of I-694 in New Brighton.
Crews will shut down the westbound lanes between I-35W and Long Lane Road to replace a deteriorating drainage pipe under the freeway discovered during routine maintenance work. Drivers will be on detour from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday.
Over the next several months, motorists will feel the squeeze in Minneapolis as crews finally finish rebuilding the I-94/I-35W interchange and I-35W south of downtown. In St. Paul, MnDOT will repair and resurface pavement on I-94 between Western Avenue and Mounds Boulevard and on I-35E between I-94 and University Avenue.
Major road work in the metro will also bring lane closures and traffic shifts for most of the summer on I-35W between Roseville and Lino Lakes, I-94 from Maple Grove to Albertville and on Hwy. 10 through Elk River.
"Safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable transportation is vital to the quality of life and economic success of our state," state transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher said in a statement. "Although Minnesota's transportation needs greatly outnumber available resources, this year's construction program demonstrates MnDOT's commitment to making smart investments in our system to better serve all people."
Starting Sunday night, north metro motorists will encounter lane closures in both directions on I-694 between Brooklyn Boulevard and Hwy. 100 in Brooklyn Center. The pavement repair project will bring full closures on four weekends starting April 16-19, when westbound lanes will be shut down. Eastbound lanes will be closed April 23-26.
A key exit route out of downtown Minneapolis will close Monday. The ramp from 3rd Street to westbound I-94 will be down for about six weeks. When it reopens, the ramp from eastbound I-94 to 4th Street will close for 40 days, as will the ramp from eastbound 394 to 4th Street.
State officials remind motorists to follow posted speed limits and detours and "put your phone away and avoid distractions while driving," Anderson said.
Fines for speeding in a work zone can be as high as $300. In the past six years, 49 people have died and more than 4,900 have been injured in work zone crashes.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768