Will the RNC affect my commute?

traffic jam
A typical Twin Cities rush hour traffic jam, along I-94.
MPR Photo/Tom Weber

Rush hour traffic is always a challenge at the intersection of Interstate 94 and Highway 280. The spot is squarely between downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis -- both are about five miles in either direction.

So will traffic be any worse than usual in the morning or in the afternoon here during the RNC? According to MnDOT traffic engineers -- no.

MnDOT is confident about the traffic situation during the RNC. That's in part because the first day of the convention is Labor Day, so fewer people will be commuting to work.

You're more likely to have problems getting around a few miles north of downtown St. Paul on the first day of the RNC, because that's also the last day of the Minnesota State Fair.

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What about traffic in the suburbs?

Commuters coming into the Twin Cities from the northwest know Maple Grove, near the intersection of Interstates 94 and 494, is where traffic starts to back up during typical morning commutes.

So with heavy traffic expected in St. Paul during the convention, why wouldn't that spot be more congested?

MnDOT says timing is in a commuter's favor. RNC events are planned for the evening, so traffic isn't expected to back up until later in the day.

Even as the convention starts to wind up, a lot of the participants will be riding on high occupancy buses. MnDOT officials say in comparison, big sporting events are tougher to manage, because everyone drives their own car.

While MnDOT doesn't expect big problems for most Twin Cities commuters during the RNC, they do want people to pay attention to traffic conditions and plan accordingly.

And they say coming to work early and leaving early, if you can, wouldn't be a bad idea.