Commuting patterns for thousands of Metro Transit riders will change Monday morning when a massive project to remake Nicollet Mall gets underway.

Starting at 5:30 a.m., routes 10, 11, 17, 18, 25, 59 and 568 will be shifted to Marquette, 2nd and 3rd avenues between Washington Avenue and Grant Street until 2017. Routes that cross Nicollet Mall will continue to operate as normal and there will be no impact on light-rail service, said Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla.

"We will be making the best of the situation over next two years," he said about the route changes that will affect about 12,000 riders each day. Last week bus drivers made announcements and transit agency staff were on the streets and on buses passing out fliers with information about the detours.

Metro Transit also sent text messages to riders who have subscribed to receive alerts while emails were sent to Metro Pass and College Pass users, Padilla said.

Information also is posted on the agency’s website.

Metro Transit will update its automated Nextrip information for the displaced routes based on field testing and run times. New pocket schedules for the affected routes will be available in mid- to late-August, Padilla said.

The City of Minneapolis City and the Minneapolis Downtown Council are rebuilding Nicollet Mall between Washington Avenue and Grant Street. The $50 million design prioritizes the space for pedestrians that includes hardier trees, enhanced sidewalk spaces, improved lighting, and places for people to enjoy the mall, a city of Minneapolis website describing the project says.

An excerpt from the project website says “this transit and pedestrian mall will be updated and re-envisioned to keep Minnesota attractive and vibrant in an increasingly competitive marketplace both nationally and globally.”

Currently 130,000 employees use Nicollet Mall each day and three Fortune 500 companies – Target, Xcel Energy and U.S. Bank – have their headquarters there.

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