MnDOT says sorry, but I-35W is still closing this weekend

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Interstate 35W seen on Thursday
Interstate 35W seen on Thursday
Ellen Schmidt | MPR News

It's going to be an action-packed weekend in the metro area, with Vikings, Twins and Gophers games and the Twin Cities Marathon all taking place this Saturday or Sunday.

Good luck getting there, though.

Interstate 35W from Interstate 94 to Minnesota Highway 62 in Minneapolis is shutting down from Friday night through Monday morning, while crews prepare for the demolition of the Franklin Avenue bridge.

It's part of the four-year I-35W reconstruction project between 43rd Street and downtown Minneapolis.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Transportation defended its decision to close the key artery despite a weekend full of events, which had even Gov. Mark Dayton raising "serious concerns about the potential disruptions." The roadway carries as much as 225,000 cars per day on that stretch.

Earlier this week, MnDOT canceled a planned overnight closure of westbound I-94 at the Lowry Tunnel on Friday and Sunday nights because of the nearby I-35W work.

In a statement, MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle said the agency regrets any "significant inconveniences" the closure will cause this weekend.

"Our intent is to get the work done as quickly as we safely can, and get the road open again," he said.

He added that the redesign of I-35W is complex and that it's necessary to close the roadway this weekend to keep it on schedule.

"Any delay would add significant costs to the project," he said.

Heads up: More interstate closures coming soon

Remember that Lowry Tunnel closure that was supposed to happen this weekend? It's been rescheduled for next week. Westbound I-94 at the tunnel will close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Monday through Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a second weekend closure of I-35W is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 6 through Monday, Oct. 9 to complete the Franklin Avenue bridge demolition.