A sunny and mild spring weekend is on the way, but the forecast for motorists isn't nearly as nice. Long stretches of two metro area freeways will be shut down for the weekend.
Closures on tap from Friday night until Monday morning include both directions of I-94 between Hwy. 280 and I-35E and the northbound lanes of I-494 through Minnetonka, Plymouth and Maple Grove.
Those closures will likely impact those heading to the Xcel Energy Center where Grammy-winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Neil Diamond holds court Sunday night.
The closure might also make it harder to reach Target Center in downtown Minneapolis where Disney on Ice's "Frozen" continues with several performances Friday through Sunday. Thousands of people will be attending events associated with the Association of Writers and Writers Programs at the Convention Center, so expect extra traffic and be watchful for pedestrians.
MVTA and Metro Transit say buses and trains will run as usual.
Now here is a rundown of this weekends road closures and traffic impacts:
Crews will be moving electrical lines in the vicinity of Snelling Avenue ahead of a major redo of Snelling that is scheduled this spring and summer. For now, the traffic impact is that both directions of I-94 will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday from Hwy. 280 to I-35E.
I-494 in the western suburbs
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. However, there could be some temporary closures of the lanes at other times during the weekend, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.
During the closure, traffic will be detoured over to Hwy. 169, so expect lots of extra traffic through New Hope, Golden Valley and Brooklyn Park.
Bigger changes kick in Monday. That's when the freeway will be reduced to three lanes north of Hwy. 55 and a number of entrance and exit ramps shut down.
Here is how that will work: 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 moveable barrier back and forth to control the traffic flow.
This is an ongoing project - through October - but it never hurts to remind drivers that there is construction between Cedar Lake Road and W. 36th Street.
The big closure is the Minnetonka Blvd. bridge over Hwy. 100. That also has the ramp from Hwy. 7 to southbound Hwy 100 closed. The detour: W Lake Street, Wooddale Avenue and Hwy. 7/County Road 25.
The other ramps that are closed include:
- Minnetonka Boulevard to southbound Hwy 100.
- Minnetonka Boulevard to northbound Hwy 100.
- Northbound Hwy. 100 to Minnetonka Boulevard
- 27th Street ramp to southbound Hwy 100.
- Southbound Hwy. 100 ramp to Minnetonka Blvd.
Hwy. 52 through Inver Grove Heights
Southeast metro disruptions can be expected in both directions between 160th Street in Coates and the junction with Hwy. 55. The left lane will be closed on weekdays and Saturdays through April 25. Specific hours are northbound closures from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and southbound from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Look for the freeway to be reduced to two northbound lanes from University Avenue to Johnson Street on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Also in the area, the ramp from Hennepin Avenue to southbound 35W will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.
A few parkways and city streets will be closed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for Goldy's Run, a 10-mile race. The course will have closures on East River Pkwy., West River Pkwy from 22nd Avenue S. to NE. Broadway Street, and Main Street from 6th Avenue SE. to Hennepin Avenue
A utility project will have the Columbia Parkway Trail, between Central Avenue NE and 35th Avenue NE, will be closed through June 30. Pedestrian and bike traffic will be detoured onto the sidewalk along the north side of Columbia Parkway. Trail traffic needing to cross Central Avenue NE will be diverted up to 37th Avenue NE