Don’t travel east on I-90 next weekend

Published 9:50 am Friday, March 19, 2010

Eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 through Austin will be closed from March 26 to March 29, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The closure is needed to ensure the safety of motorists during the removal of the flyover bridge connecting the westbound Interstate 90 to Oakland Place Northeast. That bridge is scheduled to close Monday as part of the “Bridges of Mower County” project. A new bridge will reopen in September.

The bridge will be demolished the weekend of March 26.

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During construction, motorists can reach Oakland Avenue East and Oakland Place Northeast from I-90 via a detour on Highway 218.

Starting at 7 p.m. on March 26, the eastbound lanes of eastbound lanes of I-90 will be closed from Highway 218 north to Highway 218 south/21st Street Northeast. Eastbound lanes are scheduled to re-open at 5 a.m. on March 29.

During the detour, eastbound traffic will be guided on 45-mile diversion north on U.S. Highway 218 to Blooming Prairie, then east on state Highway 30 to Hayfield, then south back to I-90. The travel time of the detour route as more than an hour. The distance on I-90 takes less than 15 minutes.

Westbound traffic will be diverted around the bridge on the exit ramp at Highway 218 South/21st Street Northeast, across 21st Street and then back onto I-90 via the entrance ramp. This also means the Highway 218 South/21st Street Northeast bridge over I-90 will be closed to traffic. Drivers will be detoured east to 28th Street Northeast, north to westbound Interstate 90, and west to 21st Street Northeast.

In all likelihood, local motorists will take city streets to get around the detour instead of the MnDOT route.

The demolition is set to take place all weekend — weather permitting. The project may include loud noise and vibrations.

The $12.8 million project includes four bridge replacements in two years. Lunda Construction Co. is the project’s main contractor.