Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

The Lowry Tunnel is going to be an even bigger nightmare this summer

The next three months are going to be pretty frustrating.

If you think traffic through the Lowry Tunnel is bad now, just wait.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is fixing a bunch of bridges and tunnels on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis, and the only way to keep the busy freeway open while crews work is to shift traffic to one side of the road.

And that includes through the already-annoyingly-busy Lowry Tunnel.

What to expect, and when

This is all part of MnDOT's big, $46.3 million construction project on a 9-mile stretch of the interstate between Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. The entire project is expected to be finished next year, but the Lowry Tunnel closures will only be for the next three months.

Here's a breakdown of what you can expect from now until the fall around the Lowry Tunnel:

Friday, June 23 at 10 p.m. through Monday, June 26 at 5 a.m.: MnDOT will close the eastbound lanes of I-94 between Interstate 394 and Interstate 35W. You'll still be able to go westbound on I-94 through the tunnel. Crews will use this time to prepare the eastbound side of the freeway to handle both lanes of traffic.

Monday, June 26 at 5 a.m. through early August: The westbound lanes of I-94 will close, and westbound traffic will be diverted to the eastbound lanes (with all the drivers who are driving east). There will be two lanes open in each direction through the Lowry Tunnel. A bunch of exit and entrance ramps from major roadways will also be closed in the area (see a list here).

Early August to mid August: When work is done on the westbound lanes, both sides of the tunnel will reopen – but only temporarily. (Note: big trucks still won't be able to use I-94 in this area, and some ramp closures will continue.)

Mid August to mid September: All I-94 traffic will be moved to the westbound side of the tunnel, with two lanes open in each direction. This will continue until crews are done working on the eastbound lanes. During this time, big trucks will still be prohibited and there will be more ramp closures (see a list here).

This video explains the Lowry Tunnel project:

The lanes through the Lowry Tunnel will be skinnier than normal and the speed limit will be lower, MnDOT says, reminding motorists to "be patient and drive carefully" through the construction zone.

Some advice: Plan ahead

Drivers who take roads that lead to the tunnel (I-394 and I-35W), as well as the detour routes, can expect to experience some traffic jams.

“This is a significant project and will be a challenge for drivers,” David Aeikens of MnDOT told the Star Tribune, noting drivers should give themselves extra time and plan some alternate routes.

Also know that from July 22 through the morning of July 3, the Light Rail won't be running in most of downtown Minneapolis. More information on that here.

For more information on detours and road closures throughout the I-94 project, click here. You can also sign up for email updates regarding the project.

Next Up

school bus stop pixabay

School bus driver charged in fatal hit-and-run will plead guilty

Another motorist told the driver to call 911, but he instead got on the bus and drove off, charges say.

Franconia Sculpture Park - Lorie Shaull - Flickr

5 outdoor destinations to explore around the Twin Cities

There's something for everyone on this list of overlooked spots.

Child mental health counseling

As pandemic continues, so do efforts to improve child mental health access

Children's Minnesota has announced it will open its first inpatient mental health facility for under 18s.

Dalvin Cook

Report: Dalvin Cook suffered torn labrum, dislocated shoulder

Cook is now dealing with a dislocated shoulder and a torn labrum on both sides of his body, according to a report.

Tanner Morgan

Tanner Morgan returning to Gophers for 6th season

One Gophers QB has already entered the transfer portal.

Allina Health Richfield - 407 W 66th St, Richfield, Minnesota - June 2019 - CROP

Charges: Clinic locked down after man tried to enter, threatened passersby

Staff at the clinic suspected he was intoxicated, according to the complaint.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, November 29

The state's latest report includes data from the Thanksgiving break.

unsplash - woman sick coughing - CROP

Long COVID: Review of Mayo patients may provide new clues

The researchers summarized three "major novel findings" from the data.

Joe Biden

Biden's visit to MN will include stop at Dakota County Technical College

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed earlier this month.

Brooklyn Center police

Victim of 'accidental' shooting ID'd as 23-year-old Duluth woman

The 23-year-old died three days after being shot while sitting in a parked vehicle.

ambulance

Motorist dead after crashing into utility pole in south Minneapolis

The crash happened Saturday night in the South Uptown neighborhood.

police lights

St. Cloud mother arrested after 3-month-old baby found dead

Officers discovered the baby during a welfare check Sunday.

Related

Update: The major construction project on I-94 begins today

The interstate will be reduced to two lanes starting in May.

Minneapolis notices traffic has been an utter nightmare

Road construction and rain led to hours-long delays for morning commuters.

Minneapolis notices traffic has been an utter nightmare

Road construction and rain led to hours-long delays for morning commuters.

street racing lowry hill tunnel

Street racers shut down Lowry Hill Tunnel in Minneapolis on Sunday

The incident was reported early Sunday morning; no arrests have been made.

Lowry Tunnel in Minneapolis closes Monday night

Interstate 94 on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis is closing in both directions at the Lowry Tunnel starting at 10 p.m. Monday so crews can clean the dirty underpass. The shutdown will last until 5 a.m. for the twice-a-year scrub-down.

Screen Shot 2020-10-29 at 3.19.05 PM

This video of the Lowry Hill Tunnel walls being cleaned is oddly satisfying

The tunnel will be closed overnight Thursday for cleaning.