January 23, 2017 05:56 AM
It’s the project many Minnesota drivers have been dreading for months.
Highway 169 has closed between Bren Road and 5th Street/Lincoln Drive affecting the communities of Hopkins, Minnetonka and Edina into October.
Dave Aeikens, from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, says the work is part of a bridge replacement project.
“Crews are going to start taking down the Nine Mile Creek Bridge. You can do that during the winter, there’s a swamp there; it will be easier to get at when it’s cold and frozen like that,” Aeikens said.
The bridge is being replaced by a causeway, which is a raised road across low or wet ground supported on fill instead of piers. MnDOT says causeways are cheaper than bridges to build and easier to maintain.
Drivers heading northbound on Highway 169 will encounter single lane work at Highway 62. Southbound motorists will be forced into one lane near Excelsior Boulevard. And there’s bad news for Interstate 394. The ramp from I-394 westbound to Highway 169 southbound will stay closed into October as well.
In addition to replacing the Nine Mile Creek Bridge, Aeikens says crews will be making a number of improvements along Highway 169.
“We’re going to be working on some ramps. We’re going to be closing that 16th Street ramp to south 169. It’s unsafe, so we’re just going to close it. We’re going to be extending the Cedar Lake Road merge lane from 350 feet to 1000 feet,” Aeikens said.
This spring, the traffic delays are expected to get a lot worse. Highway 169 will be single lane from Highway 62 all the way to Highway 55. This will allow crews to make pavement repairs and safety improvements along the roadway.
During the construction, drives are encouraged to use Highway 62, Highway 100, I-394, and I-494. Expect added congestion on local roads including Shady Oak Road, Smetana Road, Hopkins Crossroads, and Louisiana Avenue. MnDOT is coordinating with Hennepin County and local municipalities to help improve traffic flow. Timing on some traffic signals may be adjusted and new signage and truck restrictions could be added to local roads.
MnDOT says local city leaders support the decision to close Highway 169, over of a plan that would keep the roadway open, but take three years to complete. Ideally, MnDOT would like Highway 169 to be fully functional by 2018, as a big project along Interstate 35W in south Minneapolis could be underway.
Josie Smith & Joe Mazan
Updated: January 23, 2017 05:56 AM
Created: January 13, 2017 08:40 AM
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