Four-year construction set to begin on I-35W

- The section of Interstate 35W as it cuts through Minneapolis across Lake Street was made in 1965, built to pass by neighborhoods entirely. 

A new construction project in the works intends to change that, giving direct access from the interstate to Lake Street and creating a major path for Metro Transit's new Orange Line.

11 bridges are set to come down, with a major bike and bus hub placed at the center of 35W near Lake Street, much like the one currently at 46th Street.

It's being billed as a highway of the future, with only one catch. It's going to take at least four years.

"If you think about it, this transit project is really about the spine," Metro Transit spokesperson Howie Padilla said. "For us at Metro Transit it's really about the ribs that connect with that spine and go out to the different arterial systems."

Freeway lanes will close and bridge crossings will be out entirely as the project moves forward, but as the Minnesota Department of Transportation begins construction next week officials hope to proceed in stages to eliminate as much congestion as possible. 

"Well we're keeping most of the roads open," MNDOT Project Manager Steve Barrett said. "We are closing some ramps, but we're keeping the main line of 94 and 35W open. We do the project in stages, moving traffic around between stages and that--combined with the large scope of the work--extends the duration out."

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