By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A deadly, fiery crash this weekend has delayed Monday’s opening of a new transit stop in Minneapolis.

Two days before the $20-million I-35W & Lake Street Station was to open for traffic, a driver struck the building. The vehicle erupted in flames on impact Saturday night, killing the driver. The Minnesota State Patrol has not released the name of the driver or other details about the crash.

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Charles Carlson, director of Bus Rapid Transit for Metro Transit, says the building only sustained minor damage.

(credit: CBS)

The car was driving northbound on 35W when it entered the lane for the transit hub. There is only one sign indicating the lane is for buses. The same is true for the southbound lanes. Carlson says Metro Transit is taking a look at the signage situation.

“We think that it’s very well marked, and that’s where we’re continuing to evaluate as well,” he said.

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In addition to serving existing lines, the station will be a major stop for the new Orange Line, which will soon be providing rapid bus transit between Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington and Burnsville.

“The first vision for the combination of road and transit improvements began around 30 years ago, so it’s really bringing a long road to completion,” he said.

The idea is that riders going south from downtown will take one bus to Lake Street, get off, and transfer to another bus at the new transit stop. It’s an area, like so many in the city, that has been hit by rising crime.

“There’s a significant security presence both in terms of the technology, security cameras, emergency phones, things like that, but also some transit police presence on site as well,” Carlson said.

While the Minnesota Department of Transportation won’t say exactly when the transit stop will open, they say it will not interfere with the planned opening of the Orange Line on Dec. 4.

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Esme Murphy