Big orange cones and new lane restrictions popped up on I-35W just south of downtown Minneapolis this past week, in preparation for the more disruptive work that starts very soon.
The Franklin Avenue Bridge will close early Monday, Sept. 18, the City of Minneapolis says, so it can be reconstructed. It'll be open again in mid-2018.
In addition to (duh) not being able to go over the bridge (see a detour map here), crews' demolition work will mean lane closures and restrictions on I-35W there.
Some have already been put in place:
- The MNPass shoulder northbound into downtown is blocked off until early 2018.
- Getting out of downtown via Highway 65 to southbound 35W has been limited to two lanes through to late 2017.
- The 31st Street entrance onto southbound 35W is closed through early October.
And more is coming. On Sept. 18, the 35th Street entrance to southbound 35W will be closed through late September.
There are also a couple weekends where 35W will be completely shut down, in both directions, from I-94 to Highway 62. That will happen from 10 p.m. Sept. 29 through 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2; and then again from 10 p.m. Oct. 6 through 5 a.m. Oct. 9.
MnDOT will be doing work all the time during the weekend closures, so anyone nearby should be ready for loud noises, lights and vibration – even during the night.
Why are they doing this to drivers?
This is still part of the first stage of a four-year-long makeover of I-35W from downtown to about 43rd Street.
The entire cost is $265 million, and it'll include new exit ramps and extended MnPASS lanes, rehabbed pavement, bridges, and noise barriers, and the construction of a new transit station at Lake Street.
The absolute worst won't hit until spring of 2018, when 35W access to downtown and the ramps to I-94 (east and west) are totally cut off. You can read more about the timeline in this previous story.