Major I-35W closure to create traffic nightmare in Minneapolis this weekend

With a major freeway closure and home games for the Minnesota Vikings, Gophers and Twins, motorists will face a challenge getting through Minneapolis this weekend.

Beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, Interstate 35W will be closed completely in both directions between Highway 62 and I-94 as crews prepare to demolish the Franklin Avenue Bridge. The freeway will reopen at 5 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 2.

The closure already posed a headache for people traveling through the city, but with four major sporting events taking place in Minneapolis throughout the weekend, traffic will likely be even worse. The Twins play the Detroit Tigers at Target Field on Friday at 7:10 p.m. and again on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. The Gophers host Maryland at TCF Bank Stadium at 11 a.m. on Saturday and the Vikings play the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday at 12:00 p.m.

After the corridor reopens on Monday, several ramps and lanes will remain closed for a short time. The 31st Street and 35th Street ramps to southbound I-35W will remain closed until early October. Parts of I-35W near 40th Street will also close for approximately one week will Xcel Energy Crews do some work in the area.

MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle statement:

“We have been concerned about this long-planned closure because we know there are many people who will travel to downtown Minneapolis this weekend for major events. We know this is an extremely busy stretch of roadway, and a key access point to Minneapolis and points beyond.

“We have worked hard to communicate with the Minnesota Vikings, the Minnesota Twins, the University of Minnesota and the Twin Cities Marathon well in advance so they have time to alert their patrons about the closure. We have also done significant work with the media, on social media, on our website and with other communications means to alert the traveling public about the closure.

“We are working with Metro Transit, which will be able to use a portion of the closed I-35W during the Twin Cities Marathon. We also urge motorists to plan ahead, and use to determine your route into and out of downtown.

“The redesign of the I-35W corridor through Minneapolis is a very complex project, and the work we accomplish this weekend is necessary to keep it on schedule and any delay would add significant costs to the project. We have been planning this work for several years, and have completed a number of other projects to help reduce the traffic congestion this will cause. Those projects include the recently re-opened Highway 169 which opened a month ahead of schedule, as well as work on the Lowry Tunnel and I-94, Highway 100 and I-394.

“In the Twin Cities metro area, we are dealing with a transportation system that is aging and needs significant preservation work. We regret that we will cause some Minnesotans significant inconveniences by closing the roadway this weekend. Our intent is to get the work done as quickly as we safely can, and get the road open again."