HOPKINS, Minn. - With all the road construction projects Minnesotans have been subjected to, one would suspect it would take something really outlandish to throw motorists for a serious loop.
This, however, could be the one to do it.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) announced Tuesday that a section of Highway 169 from Bren Road to 7th Street will be completely shut down -- we're talking all lanes -- for as long as a year. The closure will allow the complete
Also included in the package is repaving more than six miles of 169 from Highway 55 to just north of Highway 62, adding acceleration and deceleration lanes at Cedar Lake Road. Noise walls and concrete barriers will also be repaired or replaced, and pedestrian access will be improved.
There is also a proposal to remove access to and from southbound 169 at 16th Street in St. Louis Park.
MnDOT says the advantages of a complete highway closure include:
- Reduces construction impacts from 3 years to 1 year by consolidating all of the planned Hwy 169 projects
- Allows construction to occur on Hwy 169 at a time when less construction is occurring on alternate routes.
- Significantly reduces the risk to workers and motorists in the work zone.
- Improves the quality of the construction.
An informational meeting will be held by MnDOT on Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.
Traffic expert John
"(You) demolish both pieces, you have more people working on it, you finish it in a third of the time," he said.
"That location today is congested. So any additional vehicles they will be sending there, they're going to make that congestion bigger," he said.
But he admits there is not much of an alternative.
"These are necessary things, and bridges specifically cannot be avoided," he said.
MnDOT wants to finish the Highway 169 project before it started to rebuilt portions of I-35W in south Minneapolis near I-94, which is scheduled to begin in 2018.