Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A busy section of freeway in the metro area will shut down for the weekend beginning at 10:00 p.m. Friday.
Interstate 494 from Highway 212 to Highway 100 will be off limits in both directions to drivers. It will re-open at 5 a.m. Monday.
It is a stretch of freeway that has its fair share of traffic. In 2010, 121,000 vehicles traveled on I-494 each day. But over the weekend, no one will be allowed on the nearly four mile stretch.
“I guess we’re going to have to explore some back roads,” said Leah Conrad, a driver doesn’t plan to avoid the area due to the closure.
Construction on a flyover bridge poses too big of risk to keep the freeway open. Large metal beams will be moved into place for the Highway 169/I-494 interchange reconstruction project.
“It’s not something that can be done with a simple lane closure or a couple of lane closures,” said Bre Grand, a MnDOT spokesperson.
With only three weeks left of the holiday shopping season, some drivers aren’t happy with MnDOT’s plan.
“You’re not going to be able to get around in any direction,” said Tina Steckler, who plans to avoid the area this weekend.
I-494 is the major artery to many of the businesses in Eden Prairie.
“Why especially with the holiday weekend, with Christmas shopping, it’s going to be terrible,” said Steckler.
“Folks can still use 212 and can still get there from the west. Access on Southside, using local 494 frontage roads is also still available,” said Grand.
While the weekend detour may be a small inconvenience now, it’s keeping the construction from going past its scheduled completion date of November 2012.
“We’re trying to keep up with the project schedule we’ve had a lot of work going on in the last few weeks,” Grand said.
MnDOT chose the weekend closure because officials said it affects the fewest drivers.
Log onto the MnDOT website for more information on detours.