Drivers making their way around the metro have already encountered road work and lane closures this spring, but on Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Transportation officially kicks off the 2017 construction season.
Agency officials have called a news conference to outline the major projects that undoubtedly bring more detours, delays and traffic disruptions. And yes, the list is, well, as long as a mile-long traffic jam.
Major projects such as the $46 million resurfacing I-94 and fixing more than 50 bridges between Brooklyn Center and downtown Minneapolis have already started. That project, which will have traffic share one side of the Lowry Hill Tunnel starting next month, is among the projects on this season's schedule.
MnDOT also will be completing a project that will add a third general purpose lane on eastbound I-694 between Lexington Avenue and Rice Street, resurfacing I-94 between downtown St. Paul and Century Avenue in Maplewood and a pavement and bridge repair project on Hwy. 169 between I-394 and the Crosstown. That includes the Nine Mile Creek bridge which shut down earlier this year.
At Thursday's announcement, MnDOT will give a full rundown on those projects and others that have yet to begin. A few of note include I-35 between the Forest Lake Split and Hwy. 8. The freeway will be reduced to two lanes in each direction during repaving that will start in July.
In August, MnDOT will get to work on the rebuilding I-35W between Lake Street and downtown Minneapolis.
And here's a heads up: Drivers using I-35 to the south of the metro could run into major traffic snags. MnDOT will replace six bridges between milepost 32 and 42 in the Owatonna area. Traffic will be shifted to the northbound lanes and will be single file until November.
MnDOT also will be replacing two bridges on Hwy. 52 in the Cannon Falls area along with resurfacing the northbound lanes between Rochester and Cannon Falls.