I-94 construction sparks concerns for businesses in Hudson

I-94 closures impacting businesses in the east metro

I-94 closures impacting businesses in the east metro

Last week, the big backups on Interstate 94 crossing the St. Croix River into Wisconsin caught many people off guard. The traffic jams have left some in Hudson concerned they might see a drop in visitors.

“It definitely is challenging,” said Pete Foster, owner of Pedro’s Pizza Lounge, and two other restaurants located in downtown Hudson.

Foster told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that business has dropped around 5-10% since the traffic backups began last week. 

He also worries that the perception of traffic jams will keep people away.

“We want everybody to come to Hudson and not forget about us,” Foster said.

Minnesota Department of Transportation officials say if you don’t want to take I-94, you can cross the river at Highway 36 by Stillwater.

The Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce has some other workarounds, such as taking Hudson Road, which runs parallel to I-94.

Another option? Travel by boat.

Hudson just opened a new, nearly 700-foot floating boardwalk last month, where you can dock a boat.

But for those who want to stick to the road routes, the chamber plans to regularly post tips and tricks on social media.

“We’re putting updates about the traffic changes and what’s happening, because as you and I both know what it looks like today might change in a couple weeks,” said Mary Claire Potter, president of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce, adding, “then we kind of readjust and move forward again.”

And just this week, MnDOT added new lane markings and signs, telling drivers the usual Highway 95 ramps are now to be used as an extra lane.

Businesses hope it will keep traffic flowing their way.

“We all have open arms, and we want to see yah,” Foster said.

MnDOT says drive times have gotten better since last week when westbound I-94 was down to just one lane. Now it’s two lanes in both directions, likely through the end of June.