There is likely to be significant traffic disruption in St. Paul and the eastern Twin Cities metro starting this week as part of the ongoing construction project on Interstate 35E.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced about a mile of the northbound I-35E will close completely Friday between I-94 in downtown St. Paul and Cayuga Street as part of an ongoing program to add a MnPASS lane between St. Paul and Little Canada.
Ramps will start closing at 8 p.m. Friday, with the full road closing at 9 p.m. The lanes won't reopen until 5 a.m. Monday, though the exit ramp to Cayuga Street will remain closed until mid-June.
And starting Wednesday, southbound I-35E will be reduced to two lanes between Little Canada Road and University Avenue – a reduction that will stay in place until later this year.
During this weekend's I-35E closure, people traveling eastbound from St. Paul on I-94 or northbound on I-35E drivers will be detoured via eastbound I-94 and northbound/westbound I-694. People traveling westbound from St. Paul on I-94 will be detoured via northbound Highway 280, northbound I-35W and eastbound I-694.
Summer of construction
The work on I-35E is one of the major Twin Cities construction projects taking place this summer, with the reconstruction of I-494 and Highway 100 in the west metro others that are causing traffic headaches.
Downtown Minneapolis will be affected in the coming weeks, when rehabilitation work starts on I-394 between I-94 and Highway 100, which will last until August and will see the road reduced to two lanes in both directions for at least 2 weeks.
A full list of construction projects going on this year and into next year can be found here.
Work is impacting small businesses
On a more local level, Twin Cities companies told KARE 11 that construction work being carried out by county or city authorities is taking its toll on business.
Julie Kearns, owner of vintage retail shop "Junket," says that traffic is down 20 to 30 percent on Minnehaha Avenue in Longfellow because of a two-year Hennepin County road project, which she says is causing fewer visitors to her store.
She and other vintage store owners have launched a GoFundMe page to help the small businesses on the "Minnehaha Mile," most of which have only sprung up within the last five years, and face enough challenges to be successful as it is without the construction problems.
They have set a target to raise $12,000 (of which $810 has been raised so far), which they will use to buy billboard space, flyers and other publicity methods to let people know they're there and still open.