Long stretches of two metro area freeways will be closed for the weekend, promising to complicate life for motorists headed for big events in both downtowns.

From Friday night until early Monday morning, Interstate 94 will be closed between Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul, and the northbound lanes of Interstate 494 will be closed through Minnetonka, Plymouth and Maple Grove.

Those closures will likely affect people heading to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, where Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Neil Diamond holds court Sunday night.

It also likely will be harder to reach Target Center in downtown Minneapolis, where Disney on Ice's "Frozen" continues with several performances Friday through Sunday. In addition, thousands of people are attending events connected with the Association of Writers and Writers Programs at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

MVTA and Metro Transit say buses and trains will run as usual.


I-94: Lanes in both directions will be closed between I-35E and Hwy. 280 from Friday night until 5 a.m. Monday. Crews from Xcel Energy will be moving power lines ahead of a project on Snelling Avenue that includes rebuilding the bridge spanning I-94. That project is scheduled to begin in May.

The recommended detour has drivers using I-35E to Hwy. 36 to Hwy. 280.

I-494: The northbound lanes between I-394 in Minnetonka and the I-94/694 split in Maple Grove will close at 9 p.m. Friday and remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday.

The southbound lanes will close at 10 p.m. Sunday and remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday. There also could be some temporary lane closures at other times during the weekend, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.

Traffic will be detoured over to Hwy. 169, steering lots of extra traffic through New Hope, Golden Valley and Brooklyn Park.

Bigger changes kick in Monday, when 494 is reduced to three lanes north of Hwy. 55 and a number of entrance and exit ramps shut down. MnDOT will have two southbound lanes available during the morning rush hours but only one northbound lane. In the afternoon, two northbound lanes will be open but only one southbound lane. MnDOT will slide a movable barrier back and forth to control the traffic flow.