MN-DOT is standing by its decision to close I-35W between downtown Minneapolis and the Crosstown this weekend, but spokesman Kevin Gutknecht says “it’s not a closure that we’re doing lightly, we’re very concerned about traffic issues, congestion.” And he adds that “this is a big project, it’s going to take a long time for us to get it done as it is and everything that we have planned, there’s something after it that counts on that being done in order to be able to proceed.” Gutknecht is urging drivers to plan ahead, give themselves extra time to get where they’re going and consider taking transit. “We have been concerned about this long-planned closure because we know there are many people who will travel to downtown Minneapolis this weekend for major events. We know this is an extremely busy stretch of roadway, and a key access point to Minneapolis and points beyond. Here’s MNN’s Scott Peterson’s chat with Gutknecht on the closure:
Earlier this week, Mn-DOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle released this statement:
“We have worked hard to communicate with the Minnesota Vikings, the Minnesota Twins, the University of Minnesota and the Twin Cities Marathon well in advance so they have time to alert their patrons about the closure. We have also done significant work with the media, on social media, on our website and with other communications means to alert the traveling public about the closure.
“We are working with Metro Transit, which will be able to use a portion of the closed I-35W during the Twin Cities Marathon. We also urge motorists to plan ahead, and use 511mn.org to determine your route into and out of downtown.
“The redesign of the I-35W corridor through Minneapolis is a very complex project, and the work we accomplish this weekend is necessary to keep it on schedule and any delay would add significant costs to the project. We have been planning this work for several years, and have completed a number of other projects to help reduce the traffic congestion this will cause. Those projects include the recently re-opened Highway 169 which opened a month ahead of schedule, as well as work on the Lowry Tunnel and I-94, Highway 100 and I-394.
“In the Twin Cities metro area, we are dealing with a transportation system that is aging and needs significant preservation work. We regret that we will cause some Minnesotans significant inconveniences by closing the roadway this weekend. Our intent is to get the work done as quickly as we safely can, and get the road open again.