HOPKINS, Minn. (KMSP) - Construction almost never starts in the middle of winter, but this January, a major section of Highway 169 will be shut down completely.
The project is scheduled to begin Jan. 10 because crews need to take out the bridge over Nine Mile Creek in Hopkins, Minnesota and that’s easier to manage when the swamp is frozen.
It also means that contractors will be done by the time the snow falls next year.
MnDOT’s Dave Aeikens said engineers did not have a choice, as the bridge was quickly deteriorating.
Surrounding cities decided that completely closing the freeway for 10 months was better than keeping one lane open and extending the construction headache three years.
This also means that starting Jan. 10, the ramp from Bren Road to Hwy. 169 N will close along with the ramp from 5th Street and Lincoln Drive to Hwy. 169 S.
Also, the ramp from I-394 W to Hwy. 169 S will close.
The primary reason for the closings is safety, to keep traffic from merging into one lane of southbound traffic.
"We're really just trying to keep any traffic out of the corridor for folks who don't live or work or have business in the area,” Aeikens said. “It will just be a lot easier if there are fewer cars in there."
The crews are also going to resurface Hwy. 169 from Hwy. 62 up to Hwy. 55, and they will improve all of the ramps, rework the bridge over Excelsior Boulevard and extend the merge lane at Cedar Lake Road.
The goal is to have it all wrapped up by October 2017.