Minneapolis motorists, prepare for agony.
That's because Interstate 35W -- arguably the city's most essential roadway -- will be closed for construction from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. We're talkin' both directions, from downtown to Crosstown Hwy. 62.
Typically, I-35W handles 200,000 vehicles per day, a number that would have ballooned with this weekend's unholy quintet of major events: Twins vs. Tigers all weekend at Target Field; Gophers vs. Maryland at TCF Bank Stadium plus Wild vs. Dallas at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center on Saturday; and Vikings vs. Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium plus the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday.
God help us.
With God unavailable, our Traffic Panic Desk turned to the next most powerful thing: the Minnesota Department of Transportation. In a note asking for advice, we spit-balled potential coping strategies -- soothing music, pre-drive meditation, staying home to binge on Netflix (BoJack's back!).
"Your suggestions are all good," responded MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht, thereby affirming my email was not dumb. "I might add that people attending any of the events in question should plan ahead, figure out a new route, and give themselves extra time to get to their destination."
Gutknecht also suggested using 511mn.org -- which provides real-time traffic levels and cameras -- and public transportation if you're headed into downtown or the University of Minnesota. If you must drive, detours will pump traffic onto Hwy. 100 and I-394, both of which will be swollen and angry.
Reprieve will be brief, since demolition of the Franklin Avenue bridge means I-35W is shutting down next weekend, too. But hey, at least construction isn't this bad.
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