June 22, 2017 06:06 AM
Summer in Minnesota means beautiful weather, spending time on the lake ... and of course roadwork.
Lots and lots of roadwork, including in the Lowry Hill Tunnel.
Construction will be ramping up in the downtown Minneapolis tunnel in just over a week.
It's already the epicenter of congestion in Minnesota, with roughly 160,000 cars driving through each day. And it's about to get even worse.
That's because a major rehab project - which will focus on the tunnel's pavement and tiling - is just around the corner. It officially begins June 26, but drivers will start to notice closures as early as June 23.
Over that weekend, I-94 westbound to Interstate 394 westbound closes until early August. The detour takes motorists to I-35W southbound, Highway 62 westbound, Highway 100 northbound and back to I-394. Learn about additional ramp closures in the area.
Meanwhile, Interstate 94 eastbound is closing for a portion of the weekend so crews can prep the tunnel for its new configuration.
Once June 26 hits, however, drivers will really start to feel the pain.
All I-94 traffic will have to travel on the eastbound side of the tunnel, meaning the alignment will shift from six, 12-foot lanes to four, 10-foot lanes with a concrete barrier in between to separate eastbound and westbound traffic. Also during that time, freight haulers won't be allowed in the tunnel at all, and more than a few ramps will be closed.
Mid-August will bring one more major change. Work switches to the eastbound side, and that side of the tunnel will stay closed until mid-September. The work is scheduled to run seven days a week.
Lanes in the tunnel will be tighter and the speed limit will be reduced.
As one frequent Lowry Tunnel driver put it: "It's going to be a mess."
Updated: June 22, 2017 06:06 AM
Created: June 15, 2017 02:35 PM
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