Starting Oct. 30, Highway 55 just west of downtown Minneapolis between Van White Memorial Boulevard and West Lyndale Avenue will be closed for about two weeks to replace a structurally deficient storm sewer. The work also will save time and money later when a Blue Line Extension light rail station is built at the intersection above the sewer’s present location.
During construction, traffic will be detoured to Highway 100 and Interstate 394. For a detour map and construction information, see http://bit.ly/2xchv5A and http://bit.ly/2zoEA5R
The work is being coordinated with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and city of Minneapolis in preparation for the start of Blue Line Extension LRT heavy construction. MnDOT identified the 130-year old storm sewer pipe as structurally deficient and budgeted $3.2 million to replace it. The pipe also needs to be moved to make room for construction of LRT tracks in the highway median and the future Van White Boulevard Station.
“Coordinating the work is saving roughly $3 million dollars and minimizing impacts to the traveling public by avoiding MnDOT crews from having to repair the tunnel now and then having other crews relocate it underground east of the station during LRT construction,” said Dan Soler, director of the Blue Line Extension LRT Project.
Highway traffic will be detoured while local access will be maintained
The quarter-mile closure of this major commuter route will occur between West Lyndale Avenue and Van White Memorial Boulevard. Highway traffic will be detoured onto Highway 100 and I-394.
Route 19 buses will be detoured around the closure area, and rider alerts will be posted at impacted bus stops. Crews will maintain local access to the surrounding neighborhoods and Summit Academy OIC. A sidewalk along Highway 55 will remain open. Planned roadway detours will not impact access to existing polling locations.
Blue Line Extension LRT Project staff have coordinated the Highway 55 closure dates with MnDOT, Hennepin County and the city. Work on I-94, I-394 and Highway 169 is complete, and lanes are reopened. Crews are planning to work around the clock seven days a week to keep the closure period as short as possible.
“Replacing and relocating the tunnel as quickly as possible minimizes the impact to the region in the short term, while benefitting the public in the long run with better infrastructure and transit. Replacing the pipe now benefits the public by not waiting until it fails, which would require more tax dollars and result in a longer road closure,” Soler said.
Partial lane closures will occur at times over the winter while crews reconnect the new tunnel. Crews will finish restoration work in spring 2018.
How to get detour information
Variable message signs will alert the public about the closure and detours.
Information is available on the Blue Line Extension project's Olson Memorial Highway construction web page, including detour routes for drivers, trail users, and bus riders. People can also sign up to receive email or text alerts. The information will also be available on the project’s Twitter account (@BlueLineExt) and the Metropolitan Council’s Facebook page (@MetropolitanCouncil).
Get more information about this closure by contacting community outreach coordinator Sophia Ginis at Sophia.Ginis@metrotransit.org or 612-373-3895 or by signing up for email or text alerts on the project website.