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Don't say we didn't warn you: Downtown streets close, traffic rerouted around stadium project

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Expect to see new detour signs on busy downtown streets in the state's largest city. On Monday, work to reconfigure 5th and 6th Streets near the expanding footprint of the new Vikings' stadium in downtown Minneapolis begins, and the new traffic patterns could take drivers by surprise.

Starting Monday, the city notes that Fifth Street between 11th Avenue and Park Avenue will be permanently closed. Westbound motorists on 5th Street will be directed to use 11th Avenue to Washington Avenue, or 11th Avenue to 7th Street and then to Park Avenue during the closure.

At the same time, Fifth Street will be reduced to a single westbound lane between 11th Avenue and Park Avenue. Motorists coming off of I-94 will be able to get onto Portland Avenue, Park Avenue, 5th Avenue and 4th Avenue.

Meanwhile, Sixth Street will be reduced to two eastbound lanes for cars getting onto Interstate 94.

According to the Star Tribune, the reconfiguration was planned to give more space to the Vikings stadium. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is paying Minneapolis $1.572 million to purchase the land, move 5th Street and modify 6th Street. Closing is set for April, but street construction is beginning before the final documents are signed.

The current bicycle lanes on 5th and 6th streets will be replaced with a two-way trail that will wind around the south side of the stadium. The city of Minneapolis will upgrade traffic signals and make other improvements as part of the upgrade to the area.

Another project will likely snag traffic in another part of downtown, where portions of Hennepin Avenue and First Street will close for utility work.

The city notes that southbound Hennepin Avenue just south of the bridge over the Mississippi will close to traffic Monday, along with a block of Second Avenue North. Crews are working to upgrade utilities beneath the roadway. The closure is expected to last for two weeks.

CenterPoint Energy is in the process of replacing a natural gas distribution pipeline in downtown Minneapolis.

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