The Minnesota Department of Transportation says motorists can expect major delays Monday because construction crews are now working on Interstate 694 between Highway 100 in Brooklyn Center and Interstate 35W in Arden Hills.
Kent Barnard, of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, told FOX 9, "We've seen, with these kinds of projects, the first week is going to be the worst part of it until traffic settles out."
Crews will be repairing concrete pavement, improve drainage systems and replace bridge decks.
Lane closures were set to begin at 7 p.m. on Sunday between East River Road and Highway 100. The ramp from East River Road to westbound I-694 will remain closed through mid-October.
During the construction project, daytime commuters will be able to use two lanes in each direction from East River Road and Highway 10 in Brooklyn Center, starting at 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily. Afterward, traffic on Interstate 694 will be confined to a single lane.
MnDOT plans to direct motorists to shift to the outside of the roadway to create the second lane during high-traffic hours.
Over the next five months, there will be some sort of lane closure all day every day between Highway 252 and I-35W, and the ripple effect come rush hour is expected in the area. In fact, Maple Grove Transit plans to add bus routes as early as 5:20 a.m. starting Monday while rerouting express buses to highways 169 and 610.
Long-term lane closures, as well as ramp and loop closures, will remain in effect through early November. Some ramps and loops between I-35W and Highway 100 will be closed for up to 10 days at a time, but no two interchanges will be closed in a row. Officials say this should provide drivers a quick detour to the interstate via the next available access point.
MnDOT officials also plan to post advance notice signs on all ramps to communicate exactly when they will close, and crews are now using new concrete mixes to shorten the cure time in an effort to further minimize traffic disruption.
Meanwhile, summer construction is already slowing drivers down on Highway 169, and repaving projects on Interstate 94 between Clearwater and St. Cloud is backing things up in both directions.
For project information, visit http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/694west/
KDFW FOX 4
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