The $28.3 million project to widen Interstate 94 from four lanes to six between Minnesota Highways 101 and 241 in Rogers and St. Michael, respectively, gets a full head of steam next month as the project races to completion by the end of this construction season.
Prior to that, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and local leaders are meeting up with residents and business owners tonight, Wednesday, March 25, in order to arm drivers with pertinent information to two of the key steps in the next construction phase.
First, crews will begin constructing – and phasing in – a cloverleaf exit on the interchange from westbound Interstate 94 to Highway 241 in St. Michael. This will replace the off-ramp (part of the traditional diamond interchange), which will be closed down this spring.
As that’s done, all four lanes of traffic will be moved to the east side of I-94, via a temporary road, similar to those used between the two Interstate 94 interchanges up the road in Monticello last season.
While the continuous use of four lanes will ease heavy traffic burdens, MnDOT wants drivers to be prepared for the temporary ramps, roads and sharper turns, along with narrower lanes throughout the stretch. That will slow traffic down, and sometimes cause stopped traffic at peak hours.
Speed limits throughout the construction zone – a span of more than three miles – will be reduced. Fines for speeding will be set at $300, MnDOT warns.
In July, traffic will be moved over to the new westbound lanes, again with four lanes of traffic on one side of the roadway. Temporary crossovers and accesses will be built.
The on-ramp to eastbound 94 from Highway 241 will then become a cloverleaf on the southwest corner of the interchange. That’s a complete shift from the right-turn ramp most commuters use to head into the city. That ramp will stay in place until the completion of the eastbound lanes and the full finish of the project in September, weather permitting.
Hoffman Construction and PCI Roads used most of last season to prepare the Crow River Bridge section of the interstate for expansion.