Editor's note: MnDOT sent a correction Friday morning stating the ramp from 394 E to 94 E will close Monday morning.
MINNEAPOLIS - Drivers in the Twin Cities metro area will have to contend with another big shift in traffic on I-94 near the Lowry Tunnel in the next two weeks, and once that project wraps up there's another big project on the horizon that will impact I-35W for years to come.
Beginning Monday morning, the ramp from I-394 East to I-94 East will be closed for two weeks as crews repair the ramp and roadway. A detour onto Highway 100, Highway 62, and I-35W will add time to commutes, but the slowdown will be temporary.
Later this month, a project focused on 35W is set to begin, and the impact will last a much longer.
"So it's a four and half year construction project," said MnDOT Project Manager Scott Pedersen.
The 35W project will reshape the interstate near downtown, leading to MNPass/public transit lanes in both directions and a more accessible Lake Street Bus Station.
Though the work begins in August, most of the impact will initially be above and around the interstate itself. Crews will work to replace bridges on Franklin, Portland and 38th streets.
After the Super Bowl, in the spring of 2018, the biggest traffic impact will begin. Interstate 35W will go from its current nine lanes in both directions, down to just five (three northbound and two southbound) and the closures will last beyond the summer.
"Those traffic restrictions will be in place through the winter season as well," Pedersen said.
With nearly 200,000 cars a day driving on 35W, Pedersen says the primary detours, like Highway 62 and 100, will only go so far.
"It's a large impact to the region," Pedersen said. "It's probably one of our highest traveled corridors in the state of Minnesota."
To take pressure off as congestion builds, MnDOT plans to work with MetroTransit to offer discounts and incentives on bus fares and other alternative forms of transportation. They also hope to work with businesses to encourage more telecommuting.
For more information on the 35W project and what changes are coming, click here.