Metro road construction crews prep for Thanksgiving travel, snow

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(Crews drill holes for noise walls just west of Highway 280 on Interstate 94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul.)

The orange construction barriers are still plentiful on Interstate 94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul, and drivers passing through the corridor at night have been greeted by lane closures in recent weeks.

But by next Wednesday, the big pre-Thanksgiving travel day, officials said things will look a bit more tidy and the nighttime lane closures will end.

“The crews out on that project are very hopeful they can have all lanes reopened and all the barrels and cones picked up for the big holiday weekend travel,” said metro-area MnDOT spokesman Todd Kramascz.

But that doesn’t mean Twin Cities motorists will enjoy a construction-free I-94 for the rest of the winter. Kramascz says barring any major changes in the weather, the crews should be able to get a little more done before they close everything down.

“The crews are going to work into November as long as they possibly can,” he said.

The I-94 project isn’t scheduled to be completed until around mid-2012. There are two other bigger road construction projects in the metro — one at Highway 169 and Interstate 494 and the other at Interstate 694 in the north metro. Both will continue to have non-peak lane closures, but not during the big travel weekend, Kramascz said.

The Highway 169-Interstate 494 project is scheduled to be done by late next year, and the I-694 project is the start of a series of projects that will go through 2014, he said.

Kramascz said all of the projects are on schedule despite the state government shutdown this summer. The weather has helped, he said.

“It hasn’t snowed and we haven’t had a long duration of cold weather, so they’re getting an awful lot done,” he said.

Kramascz recommended that anyone traveling during Thanksgiving weekend check MnDOT’s traveler information page online or call 511 on their cell phones.

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(Cars pass by the construction zone on I-94 near Highway 280 between Minneapolis and St. Paul.)

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