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A big stretch of 35W will be traffic-free again this weekend

Road work is closing the Interstate in south Minneapolis for a second weekend.

There aren't a ton of Twin Cities sports events this time around, but drivers who'd normally take Interstate 35W through south Minneapolis will have to find a different route again this weekend.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is closing both directions of the Interstate between downtown and the Crosstown (Highway 62) from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday. 

They did the same thing last weekend and it drew complaints because it coincided with the Twin Cities Marathon, as well as Vikings, Twins, and Gopher football games. The fear was that closing one of the Twin Cities' busiest roads on such a busy weekend would make travel a nightmare.

But a statement released by MnDOT Wednesday says last weekend's traffic levels were similar to a weekday rush hour. 

Even so, they suggest that if you're traveling through the area this weekend, plan ahead by choosing a different route and allow extra time. 

Who's the dude in the picture?

You have to admit, there aren't many chances for a guy to just kick back and enjoy some serenity on 35W. 

The man pictured above lives near the Interstate and told City Pages that as he drove home with his family last weekend they noticed how calm the closed highway looked. So they came back with some chairs and a bottle of whiskey to soak it in. 

"We were kind of celebrating the quiet," said Joe, whose last name was withheld to keep him out of trouble with MnDOT. "When it's shut down, it's kind of nice down there. The situation was perfect, no cars. We had to take advantage."

Why the shutdown?

The weekend work is part of a big four-year project rebuilding the pavement, bridges, and ramps on 35W. 

The project's just getting started. You can learn more about it here

This weekend, crews will tear down the Franklin Avenue bridge. 

The Portland Avenue bridge is also closing Friday morning for about two months, although pedestrians and bicycles will still be able to use it. 

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