Morning commuters on I-394 didn't run into gridlock Monday. In fact, it was a fairly normal commute despite all inbound traffic sharing the general purpose lanes.
The evening commute, well, that's still got the potential for a commuting nightmare.
MnDOT had warned drivers that massive traffic congestion was possible Monday morning since all westbound lanes are shut down for resurfacing between downtown Minneapolis and Hwy. 100. Outbound traffic is being diverted onto the reversible HOT lanes for the next two weeks, meaning inbound traffic can't use those lanes to reach downtown Minneapolis.
The lack of problems Monday, pleasant for those heading into downtown, even surprised MnDOT officials who were expecting big traffic backups.
"It didn't and we are scared," said Bobbie Dahlke, a MnDOT spokeswoman. "We saw a little backup between Hwy. 100 and Louisiana, but it was not as bad as it could have been."
Dahlke said MnDOT is still nervous about how the evening commute will play out.
Dahlke said traffic on I-394 and all across the metro was lighter than normal for a Monday, offering one explanation why traffic didn't bunch up as predicted. But she said, commuters should not assume the rest of the week will go as smoothly and that MnDOT was crying wolf.
"This doesn't mean everybody should go there," she said. "Keep those alternate routes handy. This is real and we were trying to manage expectations and make sure everybody knew this is real."