MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ever since those major closures along Interstate 35W kicked in Friday night, a traffic headache has turned into something much more painful for Deanna Brouns.
“It has been nothing but a migraine. Everywhere is an extra 10 to 15 minutes,” Brouns said.
Ahead of summer construction, transportation officials urged people to take the public transportation instead — but Metro Transit bus delays have been stacking up at both the morning and the evening commute.
“I’m just along for the ride, and it’s going to be a long one either way,” said Kristin Brady, who commutes from downtown by bus.
Delays of 16, 29 and even 35 minutes have been reported this week, and Metro Transit is already considering changes just a few days into this project.
In a time of traffic trouble, any news is good news — and Minneapolis traffic managers have one trick up their sleeve that can help.
Engineers are able to manually change the timing of the 800 traffic signals in the city to make green lights last a little longer based on congestion.
They have been doing so a lot lately, especially near Washington Avenue and 3rd Street downtown.
“I think it’s a game of chess.” said Minneapolis traffic engineer Allan Klugman. “Every move impacts another one. We are always trying to think ahead about what is the best way to balance the traffic flow.”
The technology is not new. The city had to rely heavily on this system during the 10 days of the Super Bowl.
“We staffed this building around the clock to make sure people and vehicles could keep moving during that whole time,” Klugman said.
More closures are on the way this weekend. Starting at 10 p.m. Friday night, I-35W will be closed again from I-94 to the Crosstown. That stretch is scheduled to re-open on Monday morning.