Here is a heads up for downtown workers who may have forgotten or were unaware that the Vikings have a primetime game at U.S. Bank Stadium Thursday night.
Kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys isn't until 7:25 p.m., but a few streets around the stadium will close starting around 4:30 p.m. The big one is 4th Street between Park Avenue and I-35W, a popular way for many commuters to get onto southbound I-35W or Hiawatha Avenue or westbound I-94. That likely will put extra pressure on Washington Avenue and 8th Street, two other roads leading to major exit points.
Also closing is the one-block segment of Norm McGrew Place between 3rd and 4th Streets.
Starting Wednesday, the two-block segment of Chicago Avenue between 4th and 6th Streets right in front of U.S. Bank Stadium will close at noon Wednesday. Yep, a whole day early.
All streets will reopen an hour after the game is over.
The street closings are for traffic safety and security needs related to a large stadium event, the City of Minneapolis said.
No other streets will be blocked off, but the Thursday game could muck up the evening rush hour on other downtown streets, too. A sell-out crowd is expected for the game, which means more than 66,000 fans will be making their way into downtown just as many workers are trying to leave.
Along with extra traffic on the streets, ramp parking could be tricky as spaces normally empty on a typical Sunday might be occupied by workers still on their job. So be aware as drivers jockey for positions, both entering and exiting ramps and lots.
Another reminder: Downtown parking meters will be programmed for the flat event rate of $25 starting three hours before kickoff, or about the same time street closures go into effect. Drivers parking at meters before 4:30 and after 8:30 p.m. will pay the normal hourly rate.
As always, Metro Transit will have its fleet of trains and buses out to shuttle fans to and from the game. To avoid downtown traffic, park and ride lots at Fort Snelling and 28th Avenue station may be a viable option. Buying an "All Day Pass" in advance online allows you to skip the ticket vending machines and ride any time until 2 a.m. the next day.
Northstar trains will run, departing Big Lake at 5:03 p.m. and arriving at Target Field at 5:55 p.m. From there, hop a Blue or Green Line train to the stadium. Return trips on Northstar depart one hour after the game is over.