I-94 repairs start this spring – brace yourself for lane closures, backups and detours

You still have some time to figure out how to get around the construction.

If you're susceptible to road rage or just really, really hate traffic – take a deep breath because there are going to be some nasty backups on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis.

The good news is you have some time to figure out what you'll do to avoid the chaos when two directions of traffic are squeezed under a single side of the Lowry Hill Tunnel – yeah, that's happening.

The $46.3 million project begins March 20 and goes through July 2018. During that time, the Minnesota Department of Transportation says the freeway will be resurfaced and 50 bridges will be repaired between Nicollet Avenue and Brooklyn Center. If you're a visual person, there's a map here.

Big closures start in May

MnDOT has posted a project construction plan with a general timeline, so you can brace yourself for the inevitable backups.

The most significant closures are set to happen May through August.

That's when I-94 will be reduced to two lanes of traffic in each direction from Nicollet Avenue to Highway 55. During that time, bridges will be repaired.

North of Highway 55, I-94 will be reduced to two or three lanes in each direction.

Traffic will be moved to one side of the freeway and then back to the other. That's also when two directions of traffic get to share one side of the Lowry Hill Tunnel – two lanes for each direction.

Other construction

The state Department of Transportation doesn't have much of a timeline set for the rest of the project quite yet. But there will likely be several weekend closures around August.

Eventually, there will also be ramp closures, other lane closures, and parking restrictions under freeway bridges.

Lighting, guardrails and sidewalks will be replaced. Repairs will also be made to the drainage system.

Once it's all finished, this project should keep existing pavement and bridges going for another 12 to 15 years.

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