MnDOT hosts open house sessions about ambitious I-35W project

Construction season is in full swing, and it can really test your patience as you try to move around the metro this summer.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is sharing information with residents and businesses Monday about the downtown to crosstown project on Interstate 35W.

MnDOT is hosting two open houses to let the public get more information about what to expect.

There have already been some big road closures and more are on the way.

“They'll notice a difference and they need to start planning for it now. We're going to have fewer lanes and ramps available on 35W," said Dave Aiekens with MnDOT.

The downtown to crosstown project is a $240 million makeover of I-35W to replace bridges, add and replace ramps and extend MnPASS lanes into downtown.

In addition to several weekend closures in June, I-35W will go from 10 lanes to just five lanes of traffic for the next three years.

MnDOT said the project will be an inconvenience for some drivers, but once the road work is finished, the sacrifices will be worth it.

“It’s a big, ambitious project. There's a lot to do; we can't just shut it down. There's a lot of traffic, so we have to do it a few lanes here and a few lanes there, and we want to make sure people continue to have access," Aiekens said.

Carolyn Muchow and her husband were among the group who attended Monday's meeting, concerned about traffic in their Minneapolis neighborhood.

Like many other houses on the corner of 46th Street and Portland Avenue, Muchow’s home has been hit by a car. Now, she worries what will happen when more traffic is rerouted through her neighborhood because of the construction.

“I think eventually it’s going to be very, very good. But, I’m just very, very glad we’re retired and do not have to deal with commuting downtown or anyplace else,” Carolyn Muchow said.

“I hope when it reopens in three years it will be worth all of this. In the meantime, the neighborhoods are going to have to live with it. There's just no way around it,” Mark Muchow said.

Residents are invited to attend the other open house at Whittier Elementary School on Thursday night.