By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The list of construction projects weaving through the Twin Cities is about to get even longer.

Starting in August, Interstate 35W will be under construction between I-94 in downtown Minneapolis and 46th Street. The tough part for drivers and neighbors is the estimated $240million project should take more than four years to complete.

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And during construction, nine lanes of highway will be reduced to just five.

Bumper to bumper and side to side, rush hour traffic on I-35W can be a pain. And that’s with nine lanes and every ramp and bridge over the highway open.

When asked what it will be like to know a more than four year construction project is on the way, one commuter said exiting off the highway near Uptown said, “It’s a good thing I bike to work in the summer for the most part.”

(credit: MnDOT)

Scott Pedersen is the MnDOT project manager for the project. He said it’s been in development since 1998 and compared it to the Crosstown Commons project from 2007-2010 involving I-35W and Highway 62, since the current project will also run more than four years.

“We anticipate the start of that project to be in August of this year and go through the 2020 construction season,” he said.

During the span, MnDOT plans to repave the highway from downtown to 46th street, repave or replace nearly a dozen bridges, and extend MNPass lanes.

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Because of that, many detours will put commuters onto city streets.

“There’s 11 neighborhoods that we’ve been working with directly that will be directly impacted by the project,” he said. He said MnDOT staff have been raising awareness about the project as well as requesting feedback from neighbors.

Another big change is at Lake Street where passengers use a flight of stairs to get to the bus stop along the interstate.

Instead, Metro Transit will add a new transit station in the center of the highway. It should provide safer access for passengers.

Back near downtown, the I-94 West interchange in the I-35W northbound lane that exits to the right will be moved to the left side of the highway.

“It’s a big project. We realize that there’s going to be faux paux’s so to speak,” said Pedersen. “We are going to have hotlines available, email addresses, we have a website for people to sign up and get email updates.”

For more information on the project, click here.

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For more information on the new transit station at Lake Street, click here.

Jeff Wagner