By Reg Chapman

By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –- Spring flooding caused roads to close Saturday and headaches for those trying to get around south of the metro.

Traffic was bumper to bumper on Highway 169 south, and it caught many people off guard who were not prepared to spend their afternoon and evening waiting in traffic.

From where Highway 169 meets Interstate 494, it was a sea of tail lights. Traffic was even backed up on the on-ramps.

Maggie Swift expected her trip to take a little longer than usual, but she didn’t think it would take as long as it did.

“I was in the line procession of cars for about an hour and then my car overheated; and I actually never got to my destination,” Swift said. “I had to have my husband come pick me up; and to get to me it took him another hour. So we were in the car for two hours waiting.”

MnDOT spokesperson Kent Barnard said the closing Highway 101 and Highway 41 because of flooding detoured traffic to Highway 169, which caused the backup.

In a proactive step to help ease congestion between Shakopee and I-494, MnDOT is restriping both directions of the highway to add one lane between County Road 18 in Shakopee and Pioneer Trail in Bloomington.

MnDOT hopes that extra lane of traffic on both sides of Highway 169 will allow traffic to move along a little smoother than it did Saturday.

MnDOT said Highway 169 would be returned to its existing condition once the river crossings at Highway 101 and Highway 41 are reopened.

Comments (25)
  1. Halley says:

    Since this happens year after year after year you would think that the bridge new Bridge near Chaska would be built sooner than the projection of 20-30 years. The delays and accidents are in the long run not worth the projected time.

    1. Nicole says:

      The issue near Chaska isn’t the bridge, the road floods after the bridge (between the bridge and 169). If the issue was “only” the bridge it would be fixed a whole lot sooner.

    2. Q says:

      MN doesn’t have any money

  2. R says:

    The simple solution is to have everyone e-commute for those who work north of the river, but live south of the river.
    That way, the car stays in the garage, and no traffic jams.

      1. weee says:

        You mean PLUNGER !

    1. deb says:

      That sounds wonderful, I would love to stay home. Not all jobs can be done through commuting. Teachers, Doctors, Nurses, Fire Fighters, Store Clerks, Waitressess, Cooks, Police officers. Think about what you are saying, you must sit behind a desk and not really do much else in your employment.

  3. TC says:

    Since this is not a new issue to everyone why would not try and plan an alternate route. Don’t people think or are they just to stubborn. I drove semi around the cities and surrounding areas for 20 some years and I was always listening to the radio reports and taking different routes to avoid backups. I guess maybe there must be only ONE way that these people can get where they have to go.

    1. M says:

      Come on get real. Most people do no think that far ahead these days. By the way I see people driving I’m surprised they make it where they are going at all.;

      1. M says:

        Most people cannot even anticipate a friggin stop light they are approaching.

    2. lefty says:

      you put the wrong word in its stupid not stubborn

      1. GS says:

        One comment, there are few to no really local radio stations on top of things anymore. That would be really helpful. But with the price of gas who can afford lengthy alternatives.

  4. T says:

    Why were they restriping now that the roads are closed? I live right by there and traffic has been heavier for the past few days since 41 and 101 closed. Those roads have been closed for the past few days now, and traffic has been heavier but not nearly as bad as it was today now that they were restriping. Along with extra traffic from 41 and 101, they had parts of 169 closed to one lane on both sides. I think that the lane closings had more to do with the traffic than with the extra cars from 41 and 101.
    It’s good that they are doing something to ease traffic in that area though, I just don’t know why they would choose to do it while 41 and 101 are closed. At least it wasn’t a weekday, I suppose.

  5. Mike C says:

    Wow…how inaccurate can this report be? 169 southbound was jammed up BECAUSE of the striping. Look at the video. The 169 bridge over the Minnesota River was SHUT DOWN TO 1 LANE.

    The slowdown wasn’t because of added traffic…it was because of the MNDOT lane closures FOR their re-striping.

    1. Brad says:

      Exactly, This article is missing some facts. I was stuck in it and don’t consider myself stupid. I suppose no one does, but assumed it was traffic backed up at the 169/494 construction and would let up just south of there. Sorry for being a dumb &$$hole.

    2. Larry says:

      A fine example of poor planning by MNDOT, and our state tax dollars at work.
      Note to MNDOT: if you re-strip at 2 AM there will not be as much traffic for you to impede…plus, since us taxpayers already paid the overtime wages for MNDOT employees to work on Saturday it wouldn’t have cost any more money to work at night. Dah!

      1. RAR says:

        How do you know they wern’t also re-striping at 2am? It might take longer to do than you realize. Plus it’s been on the news that it was getting re-striped this weekend.

  6. GS says:

    Seriously, when the MNDOT folks decide to close 3 out of 4 lanes on the very day all of the other bridges close, who is doing any thinking here. I wanted to get out of my car and heave those cones into the river. Furthermore, there was no one working on anything anywhere. I think we have seen this before. The “cone gods” should cool it for awhile. Very poor decision making. After all, once you get off the bridge, there are still the same amount of lanes. Is this really a good idea? More like a waste of time and money I think. I decided to go down old Shakopee Road to Cedar Avenue, which was, by the way, wide open. Could this be some strange political move to drum up more money for some additional misbegotten road construction.

    1. GS says:

      By the way, this was not PROACTIVE in any way, shape or form.

  7. John F says:

    It’s called incompetence

  8. RR says:

    Maybe spending more tens of millions on light rail will solve this problem. Or perhaps a bike path bypass of the river near Chaska. Then everything will be ok, and the government won’t have to worry about where to spend it fabulous riches anymore.

  9. ped says:

    Go to Florida until the flooding is over

  10. Jake says:

    I think that someone at MNDot should be out of a job. Instead of doing the re-marking of lanes in both directions yesterday, they should have started at 6am, worked on one direction only, and been done by noon. The today, they could work the lanes in the opposite direction. It also proves a point that I have made countless times: Minnesotans don’t know how to MERGE. Additionally, when you do finally have the opportunity to speed up, most CRAWL back up to speed, thinking that they are saving the planet or something.

  11. TJ says:

    Just have to say that since the lane addition and steady green lights at 494 HWY 169 has run smoother than ever, wish these could be permanent changes!

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