Like the trees, road construction is leafing out all across the metro area and motorists see plenty of orange this weekend. Drivers will find cones and closures on freeways, highways and secondary streets, including portions of I-494 and Hwy. 100 in the west metro and I-94 and Hwy. 5 in the east metro.
Transit riders will also find it a bit more difficult to get around. Parts of the light rail system will also be closed as Metro Transit performs track maintenance on portions of both the Blue and Green lines.
Downtown traffic should trend on the light side as the Twins are out of town and no large-scale events are on tap in either Minneapolis or St. Paul. The Wild could have a home game Sunday if the team wins Friday night in Dallas.
On a cheery note, the weather is looking splended on Friday and Saturday, but some rain could fall on Sunday.
Buses will replace trains from 7 p.m. Friday until 3 a.m. Monday, on the Blue Line between Franklin Avenue and Target Field stations and on Green Line trains between Stadium Village and Target Field stations.
Buses will operate on a schedule similar to light-rail trains, but Metro Transit warns riders that trips will take longer, so plan accordingly. Here is a map to help you find the closest bus stop while trains are out of service.
Here is a rundown of major road work on tap for the weekend and where you could run into tangled traffic.
Hwy 100- The highway will be closed in both directions between I-394 and Crosstown Hwy 62 from 9 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. Crews will continue demolishing the Hwy. 7 overpass. Traffic will be reduced to two lanes once the road reopens, sharing the southbound lanes between 36th Street and north of Hwy. 7. Look for ramp closures in the area as well.
I-494 - Lanes in both directions between I-694/94 and I-394 will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. Crews will be reconfiguring the lanes to move traffic to the southbound lanes. MnDOT will have two lanes in both directions once the closure is lifted as the agency gets to work on rebuilding the northbound lanes.
Ramp closures include northbound I-494 to County Road 6 and County Road 6 to northbound I-494
Associated closures include East Fish Lake Road between Wedgewoood Road and Sycamore Lane. That will be in place until mid-June. Schmidt Lake Road will be shut down between Cheshire Lane and Underwood Lane from Monday through late May.
Starting Monday through November, these ramps will be closed:
Westbound 394 to northbound 494
Northbound 494 to westbound I-394 and Hwy. 12
Westbound 394 to southbound 494
Carlson Parkwy to both northbound and southbound 494, and northbound 494 to Carlson Parkway.
I-94 St. Paul to Woodbury - This resurfacing project kicked off Monday and will be in place for the next two years. Ugh. This weekend's disruptions will bring lane and ramp closures between E. 7th Street and Century Avenue. Also, the ramp from eastbound I-94 to E. 7th St. is closed until early June. To access downtown St. Paul, try 5th or 10th Streets.
Lexington Ave Bridge over I-94 - Lasting through May 8, this closure will send northbound drivers west on St. Anthony Avenue, then south of Hamline Avenue to Concordia Avenue. Southbound driver will be directed east on Concordia Avenue, north on Victoria Street and west on St. Anthony Avenue.
Note: More closures in the Midway are on tap. Prior Avenue will be closed for concrete repair starting April 27. Also on the schedule for the summer are bridges at Cleveland, Cretin, Prior and Pascal avenues, Dale and Victoria streets, and Pelham Blvd. Dates for these closures have not been set yet.
Hwy 36 and Lexington Av. - MnDOT is replacing the overpass on eastbound Hwy. 36. Traffic is being diverted down the exit ramps and up the on ramps. Motorists can expect some overnight and off-peak lane closures as crews build a new bypass on the south side of the current interchange. Drivers needing to access Lexington can use Dale Street or Hamline Avenue and circle back to Lexington by using County Road B or C.
Hwy 5 - Traffic is sharing the eastbound side of the bridge as crews rebuild the westbound side. It's single lane traffic between Davern Street and Hwy. 55 through November. This is one area to avoid if possible, but being it's one of the few river crossings in the area that might be hard to do. It's also a direct route to the MSP Airport for many. With that in mind, allow plenty of extra time. Some ramps at the Hwy. 5 and 55 interchange, Mississippi Blvd. and Edgcumbe Road also are closed.
I-694 - Westbound drivers should be on the ready for overnight lane closures between Dale Street and Lexington Avenue. Crews are preparing bypasses and crossovers ahead of work to add a third lane between Dale and Lexington.
I-35E - Motorists heading towards Duluth may see slowdowns between County Road E and Hwy. 96 as MnDOT prepares resurface and widen the road to accommodate a MnPASS lane. Motorists on Hwy. 96 will encounter single lane traffic between White Bear Pkwy and Centerville Road through mid-June.
These ramps are closed: County Road E to northbound 35E, northbound 35E to County Road E, southbound 35E to Hwy. 96 and eastbound Hwy. 96 to northbound 35E.
Hwy. 55/Hiawatha Avenue - Commuters have dealt with the closure of the ramp from northbound Hiawatha Avenue to 7th Street in downtown Minneapolis all week and it will remain in place through May 2. The prescribed detour is to take Hiawatha to the 3rd Street exit to 4th Avenue S. Other options include using I-35W or Cedar Avenue to Washington Avenue. Drive readers also have suggested taking westbound I-94 to 11th Avenue.
Hwy. 61 and 97 - Both directions of Hwy 61 between the north intersection of Hwy 97/Scandia Trail and 202nd Street in Forest Lake is down to a single lane on the east side of the road.
Franklin Avenue - Hennepin County officials started work on the Franklin Avenue bridge deck this week. As a result, traffic patterns have changed so look for different lane configurations. Remember that West River Parkway also remains closed between 4th Street and Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis.
Robert Street - A street improvement project is underway between Colorado Street in St. Paul and Thompson Avenue in West St. Paul. Look for a left lane closure through April 29.
Hwy 169 - This project just south of the metro has the potential to bring big backups. The highway is a single lane in both directions between Hwy. 21 and Hwy. 282 in Jordan through April 29. And further to the south, the highway is closed between St. Peter and Mankato. Try using Hwy. 22 or the official detour via Hwy. 99 and County Road 13.