Mn-DOT using Web as source for 494 construction updatesWoodbury residents should use the information superhighway when figuring out how to navigate major freeway construction this spring and summer.
Woodbury residents should use the information superhighway when figuring out how to navigate major freeway construction this spring and summer.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation and Woodbury city officials say the Internet and e-mail will be the go-to sources for updates on ramp closures, lane changes and detours during four months of work on Interstate 494/694, likely beginning in mid-April.
A MnDOT contractor will expand sections of the freeway through the Woodbury corridor to create three continuous lanes of traffic in each direction, from south of Lake Road to north of Interstate 94. That will force road changes resulting in only two lanes of traffic in each direction for the duration of the project, to be done July 20. But for two 10-day periods, in early June and mid-July, traffic near and on the bridge over I-94 will be squeezed into one lane in each direction.
Additionally, there will be periodic exit and entrance ramp closures at Valley Creek Road, Lake Road and Tamarack Road during the construction.
Traffic changes will happen weekly and, in some cases, daily. Those changes are among the information that will be posted on a Web site MnDOT created for the project.
“That absolutely is going to be our main point for disseminating information,” said Marc Briese, MnDOT’s east area manager and business liaison for the I-494/694 project.
Residents and local business owners can get information in person next week. MnDOT plans an open house Tuesday, March 30 for the public, and a meeting Wednesday, March 31 for local business owners.
But once the project gets under way – that could happen April 12, depending on weather conditions - MnDOT’s Web site will be the best source of information. Also, people can sign up for e-mail updates through a link on the Web site.
The I-494 work is unlike local road improvements because it is a MnDOT project, not city-led construction. That makes it a little more difficult for the city to get updates to residents, said Julie Lehr, Woodbury communications coordinator.
“At the same time, we know how tremendously this may inconvenience our residents, so we want people to get information about the project,” Lehr said.
The city published information about the upcoming public meetings for the project in its March newsletter, and will have an overview of the work in its April newsletter, Lehr said.
The city also has a Web site for the project, linking to MnDOT information, and will send project updates to subscribers of the Woodbury In-Touch e-mail notification service.
The work will be a hassle for area commuters, but the project should improve traffic flow, Lehr said.
“They’ll have to have a little pain, but we hope it will be for gain,” she said.
Editor’s note: The Woodbury Bulletin will publish frequent Interstate 494/694 project updates in its print edition and on the Web site for the duration of the project.
On the Web:
MnDOT’s project site: www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/i494and694
City of Woodbury: www.ci.woodbury.mn.us/streets/cpI494.html
Woodbury Bulletin: www.woodburybulletin.com