Lowry Tunnel cut in half for Monday commute

A project to refurbish the always-busy Lowry Tunnel has completely shut down one side of traffic.

MINNEAPOLIS - Monday morning marks the beginning of a new season of traffic woes for those who use I-94 on their daily commute.

On Sunday, the westbound lanes of the Lowry Tunnel closed. They won't be reopened until early August.

MnDOT says this project could have the largest impact on traffic in nearly 30 years.

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Construction crews spent the weekend reconfiguring the lanes, cutting the tunnel's capacity in half. All traffic will be routed to the eastbound lanes of the tunnel, turning them into two westbound lanes and two eastbound lanes.

Freight haulers are also restricted from traveling through the tunnel, so trucks will be spilling out into other areas of the metro.

This configuration is expected to be in place until mid-August, when the project moves to the other side of the tunnel. Then all traffic will be re-routed to the westbound lanes.

The work being done will update several aspects of the tunnel, including replacing the tiles along the walls.

KARE 11 Reporter Ellery McCardle drove the Monday morning commute through the tunnel several times between 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. She saw no major backups, although at times traffic heading east slowed at times. She also noticed narrow lanes inside of the tunnel and a few semis driving through.

The maximum speed limit through the tunnel is 40 miles per hour during construction.

The following ramps are now closed until mid-August, as well:

  • Northbound I-35W ramp to westbound I-94
  • 4th Ave S ramp to westbound I-94
  • Hwy 55 entrance ramp to eastbound I-94
  • Westbound I-94 ramp to westbound I-394
  • Westbound I-94 ramp to Hwy 55

.MnDOT has more information about the closures and detours available online.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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