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Road construction impacts downtown employers, commuters and residents. Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has three major highway construction projects surrounding downtown. The aging road infrastructure needs replacement so the projects can’t be delayed. I-94 funnels commuters from the northwest right into downtown via the 4th Street Exit. Hwy 169 feeds into eastbound I-394 bringing morning traffic from the Southwest Metro. I-35W carries over 150,000 vehicles daily from the South Metro. Highway construction is already causing major delays and these projects are only in their first phases.
I-94 Resurfacing from Brooklyn Park to the Lowry Hill Tunnel in Minneapolis
Timeline – Now through June 2018:
Hwy 169 Resurfacing from Edina to Golden Valley
Timeline – Now through November 2017
I-35w Rebuild from 43rd Street to Downtown
Timeline – August 2017 -2021 (4 year project)
Expect lane restrictions and closures on freeway segments from Nicollet Avenue near the Lowry Tunnel north to Shingle Creek Pkwy in Brooklyn Center. Many freeway entrance and exit ramps will be temporarily closed for several weeks at a time. Bridge deck replacements include the heavily used Hwy 252 bridge. Currently, the westbound side Lowry Hill Tunnel is rerouted to accommodate two-way traffic while eastbound side is being repaved and tiled. The eastbound tunnel will be closed until mid-September 2017. All truck traffic is detoured via Hwy 62 and Hwy 100.
Taking place simultaneously with the I-94 project is the rebuild of HWY 169 from Edina up to Golden Valley. Hwy 169 is currently closed for the Nine Mile Creek bridge replacement in Edina. Lane restrictions and ramp closures will impact traffic up to Hwy 55 through October, 2017.
As the I-94 and Hwy 169 projects wind down, the massive I-35W rebuild, from 42nd Street up to the I-94 interchange, starts to ramp up. This project reroutes traffic lanes, replaces bridges and ramps that will improve safety and flow. A new transit station incorporated into a bridge over West Lake Street links buses right into downtown. The transit station will be part of the Orange BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Line. The I-35W project begins August 2017 and will take up to four years to complete.
South Washington Ave. rebuild: Hennepin Ave. to 5th Ave.S.
Timeline – Now through September 2017
Nicollet Mall rebuild: Grant St. to S. Washington Ave.
Timeline – Now through November 2017
4th St. Reconstruction: 2nd Ave. N. to 4th Ave. S.
Timeline – Late 2018 – 2019
While MnDOT freeway projects loom on the edges of downtown Minneapolis, major road construction is taking place in the heart of the city. Currently Washington Avenue South and Nicollet Mall are being rebuilt. Just on the horizon, the 4th Street and 8th Street reconstruction plans will impact north/south routes starting in 2018.
The two-year, $50 million Nicollet Mall reconstruction project is on track to finished by this November. While Nicollet Mall resumes limited bus routes and bicycle traffic, the goal is to have a beautiful, walkable street for the 130,000 pedestrians who use it daily.
Washington Avenue South is a major street that feeds into I-35W going north and connects downtown to the University of Minnesota. Car and truck traffic lanes are being rebuilt up to Hennepin Avenue with new protected bike lanes. Pedestrian sidewalks and crossings are also being upgraded for better safety.
Construction of the 0.6-mile 4th Street South project is scheduled to begin in 2018 and will consist of improvements to the roadway, sidewalk, and utilities. The plan includes upgraded stops for planned Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line expansions and safer pedestrian access.