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I-694 'carmaggedon' project delayed one day

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North metro commuters on Monday got a one-day reprieve from a much-dreaded construction project on Interstate 694, the Star Tribune reports.

The $21 million construction project on I-694 from Hwy. 252 to 35W was to have begun Sunday night into Monday morning, but all lanes were still open early Monday morning, the newspaper reports. Star Tribune traffic reporter Tim Harlow said the work is now expected to begin Monday night in time for Tuesday's rush hour. MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht told KARE 11 the contractor is having equipment issues.

Motorists for the next five months can expect lane closures around the clock, with some sort of lane closure all day every day between Highway 252 and I-35W, FOX 9 reports. Some ramps and loops between I-35W and Highway 100 will be closed for up to 10 days at a time, FOX notes.

MnDOT officials say the I-694 project will ultimately deliver smoother rides, but the Star Tribune pondered whether gridlock created by the project in the meantime will create "carmaggedon."

MnDOT says the work is needed to:

- Resurface I-694 and repair concrete between I-35W and Hwy 100
- Resurface all ramps and loops
- Replace bridge decks at Hwy 252
- Repair drainage beneath roadway

The Star Tribune notes that there's also work on I-694 extending east from 35W to Hwy. 10, so there's actually a 10-mile stretch of construction on the north Twin Cities' key east-west corridor.

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Key stretches of freeway will be closed at 10 p.m. Friday night, according to MnDOT. Westbound Interstate 694/Hwy. 10 will be closed between I-35E and I-35W for an overpass demolition. While southbound I-35W between Hwy 13 and Burnsville will close, too. Both are set to reopen 5 a.m. Monday.

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The closures will affect the north and the south metro.