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Construction near St. Cloud to slow I-94 summer traffic

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Interstate 94 traffic on a 7.5-mile stretch from Clearwater to St. Cloud could slow summer traffic to a crawl for the next three months, creating 5- to 20-mile backups, KSTP reports.

The longest waits will happen when many Minnesotans on vacation and getaway weekends are heading out and returning home: Friday afternoons and Sundays after 11 a.m.

"For us, we can hang in the car and deal with traffic, but with two little kids, they say, 'I have to go to the bathroom, I'm hungry,' it makes it very hard," Anne Brown, who owns a cabin in Motley, tells KSTP.

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Transportation unveiled an ambitious $1.1 billion construction season plan, outlining 300 highway, bridge and other projects.

MnDOT's Clearwater-to-St. Cloud work is a "featured project." Here's MnDOT's one-sheet project description for the 7.5-mile stretch of I-94 work, roughly 55 miles northwest of Minneapolis. In short, drivers can expect that from now until late July, I-94 in that stretch will be reduced to single lane, two-way traffic 24/7, except Memorial Day and July 4 weekends, when all four lanes are scheduled to be open.

MnDOT says the existing pavement, which carries an average 42,000 vehicles daily, was constructed in the early 70s and is degrading quickly. Crews plan to put 9 inches of new concrete on the roadway, and that new surface is expected to last 30 years, MnDOT says.

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