Major detours begin Friday on I-35W, downtown Minneapolis

- Construction season is well underway and what might be the biggest headache for drivers is about to begin, as exits from Interstate 35W to downtown Minneapolis prepare to close for months.

The major road construction project will especially impact how commuters get in and out of downtown Minneapolis. The I-35W I-94 improvement plan is a massive 4-year project that will bring road closures, detours and plenty of headaches.

“If you are a driver, now is the time to think about how else you might choose to travel,” said Robin Hutcheson with Minneapolis Public Works.

Work includes reconstructing more than two miles of freeway, rebuilding and repairing 15 bridges, and adding and replacing a number of access ramps.

“We do know that travel will be difficult, but we also know that there’s so much to enjoy in Minneapolis that your effort will be well worth it,” said Scott McBride with MnDOT.

Starting 10 p.m. Friday, MnDOT will close access from I-35W north to 5th and 11th avenues. East Grant Street into downtown and 4th Avenue and 12th Street from downtown to I-35W south will also be closed.

“This project will take kindness and patience on the part [of drivers],” Hutcheson said.

Meanwhile, Minneapolis police say they will increase patrols in the downtown areas.

“There’s always concern when you see elevated levels of traffic in residential areas,” said John Elder with MPD. “Visually, you’ll see more squad cars, more people out conducting traffic stops and law enforcement… this is high priority.”

Detours into downtown include:
I-394 east.
I-35W south to Washington Avenue
I-35W to 3rd Street
I-94 West to 4th and 7th Street
Hiawatha Avenue to 7th Street.

Bracing for more traffic, residents in the nearby Stevens community look forward to some normalcy.

“It’s going to be really nice to go on your normal streets and get on your normal exits and highways, so it’s going to be nice when it’s done,” said resident Alex Grill.

For more information, visit www.dot.state.mn.us/betterroads/

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