More Construction Chaos As 35W Closes This Weekend

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Summer’s over, but construction season continues on in the Twin Cities.

And drivers will have to get ready for another major project this weekend.

Beginning at 10:00 Friday night until 5:00 Monday morning, 35W will be closed from Crosstown Highway 62 up to Minneapolis.

It comes during a busy weekend in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

“The first part of demolition was pretty rough in here. The whole building was vibrating,” said Aaron Meyerring of the Electric Fetus.

It’s a project that’s already shaken Meyerring’s business — both figuratively and literally.

“We’ve definitely seen a decrease in sales, in our everyday sales,” said Meyerring. “There’s 10 to 15,000 less cars driving by every day and that was a significant part of our business.”

What’s happening outside the Electric Fetus is the beginning of four and a half years of work on 35W, designed to improve traffic flow. But at least for this weekend, it’s going to have the reverse effect.

“It’s going to cause some traffic issues. We understand, we regret the inconvenience,” said MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht.

The Twins, Vikings and Gophers all play this weekend. And along with the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday, more than 120,000 people are expected to be here for various events.

“When you think about the schedules of the Twins and the Vikings for instance, they don’t publicize their schedules early. This contract for this project was done before those two schedules were known,” said Gutknecht.

Gutknecht says MnDOT bids projects like these up to a year in advance so they can get better bids on contracts, which hopefully saves taxpayer money. He says it’s too difficult and too expensive to push things back. Something he hopes business owners and drivers will understand.

“MnDOT’s got to do what they have to do. They have to do the work. Maybe could have picked a better weekend but I’m not in the project plan so I’m not sure,” said driver Tim Thomas.

Gutknecht recommends checking out 511 and looking at traffic cameras to find better routes — especially if you are coming to Minneapolis from the south.

As for detours, MnDOT has posted some on their website.

More from John Lauritsen
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