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Cabin Traffic: Choosing best times, alternative routes

Construction projects might delay your trip to the lake, so check out the best times to leave the metro.

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — It's the season for trips to the cabin and as always, that means navigating the traffic headaches that come with it.

MNDOT has announced there are 250 construction projects happening across the state this summer, and odds are a few of them will impact your drive to the lake.   

"That means there's going to be work zones across the state at various points in time," says MNDOT Director of Communications Kevin Gutknecht.

Gutknecht pointed to these projects as the ones most likely to disrupt your summer escape. 

  • Traffic is down to one lane at the I-35W and I-35E split in the north metro.
  • If you're headed to the north shore, I-35 goes to one lane in each direction in June through downtown Duluth.
  • Traffic is down to two lanes along I-94 near Alexandria.
  • Along U.S. 169 up by Garrison, it's one lane in each direction as they refurbish a historic bridge. 

To avoid those backups, alternate routes are worth exploring. If you're traveling along I-94 out of the the northwest metro, consider hopping on Highway 10 or Highway 55 for awhile. 

Also, the time you leave the cities is key.

"Traffic starts getting pretty heavy after lunch on Fridays," Gutknecht says, adding that starting out early Friday morning can be a good option. Or, depending on how long your drive is, maybe wait until later Friday night around 7 p.m. 

Getting home on Sunday also requires patience, timing and creativity. "I-94 gets just incredibly busy, incredibly packed coming back in," says Gutknecht. He says that any time after 2 p.m. on Sunday those neck-tightening backups begin. 

If it's an option for you with work, driving back Monday morning could save you some hassle. Either way, don't let traffic stop you from enjoying all that Minnesota summer has to offer. After all, fall... and then winter... will be here sooner than we'd like. . 

You can check out what construction projects might disrupt your escape to the lake on the MNDOT website.