Garfield Avenue now the only Duluth connection to Blatnik Bridge

The last connection of the Blatnik Bridge to the old "can of worms" has closed, leaving a one-mile stretch of Interstate 535 temporarily closed as a new Twin Ports Interchange is built.

The ramp from northbound I-535 to northbound I-35 closed Monday morning, severing the last original connection between the two interstates. Other ramps in the interchange closed earlier this year.

Traffic is officially detoured to the Bong Bridge (U.S. Highway 2), but the Blatnik Bridge remains open with the access on the Duluth side from Garfield Avenue.

Traffic on Garfield, a 30-mile-per-hour road, is noticably heavier. A new traffic signal was installed at the intersection of Garfield and Railroad Street before the interchange closures began.

While it was the last to close, the Minnesota Department of Transporation’s timeline for the project shows the connection from I-535 northbound to I-35 northbound is scheduled to be the first part of the reconstructed interchange to reopen in September 2022. The connection from I-35 northbound to I-535 southbound is scheduled to reopen a month later.

Other parts of the interchange, including lanes for through traffic on U.S. Highway 53, are not scheduled to reopen until October 2023.