MINNEAPOLIS – So much for the end of fall marking the end of construction season.
According to officials at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, a few projects will continue throughout the winter. And those officials say that’s simply to get roads back into working shape sooner rather than later.
“This year, we’ve done 253 projects worth $1.1 billion. Most of them are wrapping up. Over the years, we’ve found projects will continue a little bit longer sometimes,” said Kevin Gutknecht, MNDOT’s Director of Communications.
Among those ongoing projects will be the one involving I-35W and I-94 near downtown Minneapolis. This weekend, crews will close I-35W between I-94 and Hwy. 62 to continue work along that stretch. Workers will close that area again next weekend, but Gutknecht says the work throughout the winter won’t require a weekend closure.
“There are some things like bridgework that we can do,” he said, adding, “It all depends a lot on the weather, what the contractor schedule is. What the contractor believes can be done with the weather conditions that exist.”
ELECTRIC FETUS RELIES ON LOYAL CUSTOMERS
Meantime, perhaps no one will welcome the work reprieve – even a moderate version – more than the owner of the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis.
“We’re down close to 30 percent,” said Aaron Meyerring, Electric Fetus co-owner.
Meyerring says the store that amounts to a Minnesota music institution remains focused on the long-term benefits of the project. But they also welcome the persistence of their loyal customers.
“Hopefully the infrastructure will be worth it in the end, and it will be easier in the long run,” he said, before adding: “We’re here. We’re here to stay. [We] appreciate the loyalty, and keep us in mind for the holidays.”
As for those navigating downtown Minneapolis this weekend, MNDOT recommends several specific detours, including: 62W to 100N to 394E to 94E then 35, when coming from the south; and 94W to 394W to 100S to 62E when coming from the north.
Gutknecht also recommends drivers check the department’s website for construction updates at http://www.511mn.org.
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And above all, Gutknecht urges drivers tackling roads that have both construction and winter conditions to drive slowly and allow plenty of time.
“Folks just need to know the road, check 511 and slow down,” he said.