Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s that time of year again. Road construction on Interstate 94 is expected to create delays all summer long.
Crews are closing one lane of I-94 in both directions along this five-mile stretch between Minneapolis and St. Paul.
“When I saw the signs today that a lane was going down on 94, I just went, ‘oh my gosh,’” said Jen Harker.
The signs are up and the orange barrels are in place. We’re just hours away from the beginning of the resurfacing of I-94 between Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis and Cretin/Vandalia Avenue in St. Paul.
“Usually it’s not too bad. I just stick to the middle lane so I can keep cruising,” said Harker.
Harker travels this stretch of interstate to and from work everyday.
Now she’s getting ready for delays.
The work slated to begin Tuesday at 10 p.m. will shut down the inner lane and shoulder on both sides of I-94 for five miles.
“That means there will be three lanes of traffic in each direction and restrictions will be in place basically until October,” said MnDOT spokesperson Bre Magee.
Come fall, MnDOT will then switch things up.
“We’ll be doing the inside lanes first until late August and the flip to the outside lanes,” Magee said.
MnDOT crews will be doing much more than just resurfacing the interstate.
“We’re completely reconstructing the median, we’re updating drainage and lighting and signage and everything else,” Magee said.
This project is the second phase of an overall project to create a smoother ride on I-94 between downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis.
Because this is not a total road closure, MnDOT is not offering up alternative routes.
University Avenue is out. It’s backed up because of the construction of the Central Corridor light rail line.
Motorists are encouraged to use 511MN.org to find ways to get around any traffic back-ups.
“I’m just going to have to get up early just to get to work and it will take longer to get home,” Harker said.
There may be additional lane closures in both directions that could happen overnight as needed throughout the project.
The entire project is expected to be complete by the end of June 2012 with an estimated cost of $23.9 million.