Updated: October 09, 2020 06:08 PM
Created: October 09, 2020 03:10 PM
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has been working on the Interstate 35W to Interstate 94 Downtown to Crosstown project for more than three years but officials say they're in the final stage.
This week, crews reached a major milestone by opening the exit from I-35W southbound to 35th Street.
"I take a lot of sidestreets down, over, down, and get onto 94," said Ryan Bloomberg, who lives near I-35W.
Bloomberg moved to his south Minneapolis neighborhood right off I-35W in January. He can see the exit from his house but hasn't been able to use it until this week.
"It'd be a lot quicker," Bloomberg said.
From rebuilding 11 new bridges — including at 28th, 38th, and Franklin streets — to updated concrete that's half a century old, MnDOT believes once it's completed, drivers will notice a difference.
"There's a lot of things that we think will help move traffic along better," said Dave Aeikens, MnDOT spokesperson.
Aeikens said while the exit ramp from I-35W southbound to 35th Street is open, the ramp on the other side going northbound still needs work.
"There's just some merge issues and it's just not safe for people to use that so that's going to have to stay closed," Aeikens said.
Entering the final stage of this $239 million project, MnDOT said they've stayed on track to open in September 2021.
"We told them four and a half years, it's going to be four and a half years. We apologize for how long it takes, there is a lot of work but I think folks will really enjoy it when it's done," Aeikens said.
Even with plenty of work ahead, opening up the 35th Street exit is a small victory for Bloomberg and others who live and commute in this area.
"I think it's going to be great, it's going to be quicker to get everywhere. Cause a little bit more traffic on our street but overall I think it will be good," Bloomberg said.
If you have questions about the project or want to know more about what it will look like when it's finished, there is a virtual open house on Oct. 22. To register for the meeting, click here.
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