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Bridge construction to impact traffic during busy weekend for Twin Cities

June 21, 2019 10:11 PM

It's set to be a busy weekend full of events around the Twin Cities, including Pride weekend in Minneapolis, but if you're heading out, you're going to be dealing with a major road closure.

Interstate 35W will be shut down between Interstate 94 and Highway 280 for a bridge demolition project.

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"We're just ready, so ready," said Darcie Baumann, Twin Cities Pride Board Chair.

About 400,000 people are expected to attend Pride festivities in Loring Park this weekend.

"The energy is just amazing this year, everyone is just pumped," Baumann said.

But construction four miles away is certainly going to force some drivers to get creative navigating there.

"Unfortunately, this weekend is a pretty busy weekend for a lot of events in downtown Minneapolis and we apologize for that, first and foremost," said Kevin Walker, with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Walker said the work involves replacing a nearly 50-year-old pedestrian bridge on 5th Street with one that is wider, ADA compatible, and has lighting, something that will make it safer for those who use it.

"They've been waiting quite a long time for this, so they're very excited to see it go up," Walker said.

But this work means closing I-35W in both directions between I-94 and Highway 280. To help avoid this area, MnDOT is recommending taking the detours. If you're coming from the south, take I-94 to Hwy 280 to I-35W. If you're coming from the north, take Hwy 280 to I-94 to I-35W.

"The benefit for a brand new bridge outweighs the weekend of having the road closed," Walker said.

If you're planning on making it to Pride and don't want to drive, Baumann said they added a drop-off location for ride-sharing and even have discounts for getting a ride.

"We actually have a free pass for Metro Transit, so you can actually go to our website and download that," Baumann said.

Despite the inconvenience, Pride organizers are confident it won't impact the big crowds.

"They're going to find a way to get here," Baumann said.

I-35W will re-open to drivers Monday morning at 5 o'clock. The new bridge should be open for pedestrians toward the end of August.

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Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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