Commuters in the north metro can expect 3 years of frustration when a major reconstruction project starts on I-35W.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation says drivers can expect delays on the busy interstate between County Road C in Roseville and County Road 53 at Lino Lakes/Blaine starting this Sunday.
The construction project will embark on a 3-year plan to add MnPASS Express lanes to the stretch of road, repave I-35W and ramps, repair bridges over I-35W, and replace the I-35W bridges over County Roads C and I.
The $208 million project will see a MnPASS lane added in each direction between Roseville and Lexington Avenue in Blaine.
For the first week at least, the impact will be minimal, with overnight lane closures in place from Sunday till Apr. 7 on northbound I-35W between County Road E2 and I-694, and both directions between Hwy. 10 and County Road J.
But long-term closures will come into effect on Monday, Apr. 8, when northbound I-35W is reduced to two lanes between County Road C and Mounds View Boulevard.
It will also be reduced to three lanes between Mounds View Boulevard and the northern Hwy. 10 interchange.
Then in late April to early May, drivers on southbound I-35W between Hwy. 10 and Sunset Avenue will be shifted to the east side of the interstate, with I-35W reducing to two lanes in each direction.
This will extend to the stretch between Hwy. 10 in Mounds View and County Road C in Roseville in mid-to-late May.
These lane closures are expected to be in place until November as the southbound side of I-35W is reconstructed, with lane widths reduced to 11 feet.
There will also be several ramp closures between May and November, including the shutdown of the ramps between I-35W and County Road I in Mounds View.
MnDOT says that when completed, the project will extend the lifespan of I-35W and its bridges, reduce congestion and improve travel times on the road.
Nonetheless, with the project overlapping with the major reconstruction of the I-35W/I-94 interchange in south Minneapolis, it'll mean more headaches for metro area workers for the foreseeable future.