By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This weekend, almost all lanes of Interstate 35W will close for an eight-mile stretch from Interstate 494 down to the Burnsville split.

Crews will take down the bridge at 86th Street in Bloomington, because it’s been hit too many times by oversized trucks.

(One lane of I-35W South between 90th Street and the I-35W/I-35E/I-35 split will be open.)

That has a frustrated Lucy from Burnsville wanting to know: Why is MnDOT closing such a long stretch of road?

“The main reason for that is so we direct traffic onto state highways,” says Dave Aikens, a spokesman for MnDOT. “We really don’t want freeway traffic going into the residential neighborhoods.”

He says research has shown MnDOT that people will continue to drive on a road until they are forced to stop. If MnDOT were to keep the highway open right around the construction zone, people would exit into the neighborhoods of Bloomington.

“Those streets aren’t designed to handle the level of freeway traffic,” Aikens said.

Taking out the 86th Street bridge requires a full weekend, so MnDOT is also using this closure as an opportunity to tackle others projects it’s been waiting on.

Crews will replace guardrails, take down trees and repair the 82nd Street bridge that’s also been hit by trucks. They will also pave northbound I-35W at McAndrews Road in Burnsville.

“That’s going to take a weekend closure, so we’re just going to do it this weekend while we have it closed so we don’t have to close it again,” he says.

Aikens does not anticipate any more weekend closures for this section of I-35W this year. Construction on the new 86th Street bridge will only require overnight closures throughout the summer and fall.

The highway will be closed starting 10 p.m. Friday and will reopen by 5 a.m. Monday. MnDOT suggests a detour using I-494, Cedar Avenue/Highway 77 and I-35E.

  1. Robb Lupo says:

    Where is the civilian oversight of such projects/road closures. It appears that Mindot closes roads on a regular basis instead of narrowing the lanes and allowing at least some traffic through, I am a little suspect when they start quoting studies that tell them this is the best way to manage traffic flow. Keep in mind these are the same people who spent millions on the entrance ramp stoplight systems that have been shown to be a complete waste of money.

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