Spring is something that is almost universally welcomed by Minnesotans. The cold, dead winter is overtaken by warmer weather, new green foliage, and the stirring of woodland creatures as they awake from their hibernation.
However, spring also acts as the harbinger for the never-ending nightmare that is road construction in this otherwise lovely state. With its agonizing road closures, detours, and congestion, the necessary evil that is road maintenance is poised to start bright and early in April.
MnDOT has two major projects slated to begin soon that will directly affect traffic in east-central Minnesota.
The first begins right away on Monday, April 1 with month-long lane closures on I-35 at the North Metro split from Lino Lakes to Forest Lake. Beginning at 8 a.m., southbound I-35 lanes will be reduced to two lanes of traffic between 11th Avenue and Highway 97 for bridge work. Commuters can also expect periodic single-lane closures on both directions of I-35 as crews gear up for bridge work and bypass lane construction. According to the MnDOT website, southbound travelers can expect closures between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., and northbound travelers can expect closures during the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The Snake River bridge replacement project will also resume this coming April. According to the project website, the Highway 70 bridge will be closed from April to July as crews replace the bridge. The Highway 70 bridge ramps will be closed for a two to three weeks for reconstruction. Once the Highway 70 bridge reopens, construction on the County Road 7 bridge and ramps will begin. That bridge will be closed from July to October of 2019 with its ramps being closed for two to three weeks in August or September.
MnDOT's plan for rerouting traffic during the reconstruction of the County Road 7 bridge goes as follows.
"When the northbound ramps are closed, traffic will exit I-35 at Highway 70, travel north on Highway 61 into Pine City and then will be able to enter I-35 at the Highway 11 ramps. When the southbound ramps are closed, traffic will exit I-35 at Highway 11, travel south on Highway 61 into Pine City and then will be able to enter I-35 at the Highway 7 ramps."
Both projects should be finished by the end final months of 2019.