MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Twin Cities drivers should consider themselves warned.
MnDOT officials announced Thursday that a popular interstate ramp will shut down for two weeks, sending commuters on a 15-mile detour. It all starts next Sunday night on eastbound Interstate 394.
The ramp to get on to Interstate 94 East in Minneapolis goes away until virtually the end of the month. And that means thousands of drivers need a new way to get around.
It’s a ramp that is busy all day because it is right outside downtown Minneapolis, and a 15-mile alternate route was the best option for MnDOT so that it didn’t add to an already congested downtown Minneapolis.
“It’s impacting downtown and some other areas. It is very noticeable,” Dave Aeikens with the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.
Dave Aeikens from the Minnesota Department of Transportation says the work on the I-394 ramp is part of a larger nine-mile stretch of Interstate 94, work that’s already slowing down commutes for thousands of drivers heading in or out of downtown Minneapolis.
“It is going to remain closed for two weeks so crews can do repairs and fix the pavement,” Aeikens said.
“Basically two seasons here: Winter and road construction,” Chris Deutsch said.
Realtor Chris Deutsch says his eight-minute commute to downtown can take an hour on a bad day, so he’s not excited about a 15-mile alternate route for some drivers.
“I think it is going to cut into my productivity and if you multiply that by tens of thousands of people over a period like that we are going to be feeling it,” Deutsch said.
The alternate route takes drivers south on Highway 100 in St. Louis Park, east on Highway 62 in Richfield and then north on Interstate 35W to Minneapolis.
“We are looking to keep freeway traffic off city streets and neighborhoods,” Aeikens said.
The 15-mile detour is already crowded with drivers detoured by construction on Highway 169.
“I feel like it does have but I’m not sure if it is just because the Super Bowl is coming and we just have to get it done this year,” Aeikens said.
Aeikens says there aren’t more MnDOT construction projects happening this summer than past years, but it certainly feels different to drivers like Deutsch.
Again, Tuesday morning is when you will start feeling that different, through Aug. 28. MnDOT recommends planning a lot of extra time to get around during the next few weeks around downtown Minneapolis.