Traffic changes during Grandma’s Marathon Race weekend

This weekend marks the 47th running of Grandma’s Marathon and the weekend draws tens of thousands of visitors to the Twin Ports. Due to these events, there will be numerous traffic changes throughout the weekend around Duluth and the North Shore. Runners, residents and visitors should take extra care when driving through town, and pay attention to detour routes and closures.

The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon begins at 6:00 a.m. with the Duos/Adaptive start at 5:50 a.m. Grandma’s Marathon gets underway with the Wheelchair/Duos/Adaptive race at 7:35 a.m., Elite & Sub-Elite Men at 7:40 a.m. and the Elite & Sub-Elite Women and rest at 7:45 a.m.

Here are the traffic changes according to the City of Duluth Police Department for this weekend:

On Wednesday, June 14, crews will install a temporary pedestrian bridge over Canal Park Drive, just South of Buchanan Street, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The road will remain open, but motorists should expect short delays during this time. Bridge construction will be completed by mid-afternoon on Thursday, June 16.

Lake City Lot will be closed Wednesday, June 15 through the remainer of the week.

The Lighthouse Lot will be closed on Friday, June 16 for race set-up and remain closed through late Saturday.

William A. Irvin 5K on Friday, June 16 at 6:00 p.m.:

Harbor Drive behind the DECC will close to traffic at 4:00 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., portions of Railroad Street will close to traffic for the duration of the race. Motorists should obey temporary “No Parking” areas on Railroad Street, Lake Place Drive, and Harbor Drive. Violators will be ticketed and towed.

Starting at 5:30 p.m., traffic delays will occur for up to two hours as portions of Railroad Street will close from Lake Avenue to 5th Avenue West. Southbound traffic on 5th Avenue West will be able to access the DECC parking lot via Railroad Street throughout the race. Harbor Drive behind the DECC will also be closed to traffic.

The Aquariam parking lot will not be accessible from 5:30 p.m. until approximately 7:15 p.m.

Traffic looking to access Pier B Resort or Bayfront Park parking lots can only do so from the West between 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Access to the DECC during the race will be through the North Gate (on Railroad Street) or the East Gate (on Harbor Drive), from Lake Avenue or 5th Avenue West. Outbound traffic from the DECC will only be from the West Gate (5th Avenue West) from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. Vehicles on northbound I-35 exiting on the 5th Avenue West off-ramp can either continue straight to Lake Avenue to access the DECC Lot or turn right onto 5th Avenue West to access the DECC Lot via Railroad Street.

Most traffic should return to normal by 7:30 p.m. Watch for no parking signs, barricades, and Officers directing traffic when driving in the area of this event.

Grandma’s Marathon and Half Marathon on Saturday, June 17

Friday, June 16: At 6:00 a.m., Friday, June 16, Canal Park Drive from Railroad Street to Buchanan Street will closed to most traffic to allow for Grandma’s finish line set up. Guests staying in the hotels along Canal Park Drive will have limited use of the road to access their hotels on Friday. Traffic accessing locations South of Buchanan Street should use South Lake Avenue to Buchanan, not Canal Park Drive. Canal Park Drive will remain closed to traffic until after the Grandma’s Marathon finishes late on Saturday June 17.

Saturday, June 17: Road Closures

  • Scenic Highway 61, along Lake Superior from Duluth to Two Harbors, will close to traffic at 4:15 a.m.
  • Scenic Highway 61, between McQuade Road and Ryan Road, will close at 3:45 a.m. for half marathon start set-up.

Motorists should slow down and be alert to special signing and lane closures on the Highway 61

  • Expressway just south of Two Harbors, starting at 4:15 a.m.
  • All access roads between MN-61 Expressway and Scenic Hwy 61, including Isackson Road, Salakka Road, Central Avenue, Alseth Road, Lakewood Road, Homestead Road, Ryan Road, and McQuade Road, will close at 4:15 a.m.
  • Harbor Drive, from the DECC East Gate to the Aquarium, will be restricted to buses only at 4:30 a.m.
  • Harbor Drive will close to all traffic at 5:30 a.m.
  • Most avenues leading to London Road will close at 4:30 a.m.

Starting at 5:30 a.m., the following roads will close to traffic and will remain closed until the end of the Marathon:

  • All of London Road,
  • Superior Street from 12th Avenue East to 5th Avenue West
  • Michigan Street from 4th Avenue East to 5th Avenue West
  • Commerce Street/Railroad Street, Lake Place Drive, and Canal Park Dr.
  • The southbound lanes of I-35 from 21st and 26th Avenues East will close at 4:30 a.m.
  • The northbound lanes of I-35 will close at 5:30 a.m. from Mesaba Avenue to 26th Avenue East. A detour will guide vehicles to 2nd Street to continue east.
  • Northbound traffic on I-35 will be diverted up Mesaba Avenue to 2nd Street at 5:30 a.m.
  • Westbound traffic on 1st St. will not be able to access Mesaba Avenue and will instead be diverted to Superior Street and I-35 at 6th Avenue West at 5:30 a.m.

Interstate 35 and most other roadways closed for the Marathon will reopen by approximately 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, June 17: Access and Detours

The only access for motorists wanting to reach Park Point or the Canal Park area during the Marathon on Saturday will be on 5th Avenue West from Superior Street. Motorists should follow signs and Officers direction. There will be no vehicle access to Park Point or Canal Park from Lake Avenue at Superior Street.

DECC Access:
Motorists wanting to reach the DECC or Bayfront area during the Marathon on Saturday must use either 5th Avenue West or Garfield Avenue to Railroad Street. There will be no vehicle access to the DECC from Lake Avenue.

London Road Access:
All of London Road will close to traffic from 5:30 a.m. until approximately 3:00 p.m. Local residents and spectators along London Road can use Superior Street and Jefferson Street to access the avenues above London Road for parking during the Marathon. Spectators are encouraged to continue using the sides of London Road for watching the race.

Depot, Library, Gateway Tower Access:
The Depot, the Library, and Gateway Towers will be accessible from Superior Street to 6th Avenue
West during the Marathon.

The following detours will be in place for I-35, London Road, Superior Street, and Michigan Street starting at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday:

  • Eastbound local streets and northbound I-35 detour: Traffic will use 2nd Street from Mesaba Avenue to 21st Avenue East, down 21st Avenue Ave East to Superior Street, and continue east on Superior Street.
  • Westbound local streets and southbound I-35 detour: Traffic will use Superior Street from the Highway 61 Expressway to 21st Avenue East, proceed north on 21st Avenue East, then continue west on 3rd Street to Mesaba Ave.


  • Parking is not allowed on any part of the race course. Please observe the posted “No Parking” signs.
  • Violators will be ticketed and towed.

Canal Park Area Parking:

  • Motorists wanting to park near Canal Park are encouraged to use the Bayfront Park Lots, the DECC, the Aquarium lot, or Downtown areas near Lake Avenue. Motorists wanting to reach the DECC or Bayfront area during the Marathon on Saturday must use either 5th Avenue West or Garfield Avenue to Railroad Street from 5:30 a.m. until the end of the Marathon. There will be no vehicle access to the DECC from Lake Avenue.

Downtown Parking:

  • On-street and ramp parking will be available along Superior Street from 6th Avenue East to Lake Avenue and along 1st Street. Michigan Street, from 4th Avenue East to 5th Avenue West, will close to traffic during the Marathon.
  • No on-street parking will be allowed on Michigan Street. Motorisits who park in Michigan Street parking ramps prior to the road closure will not be able to exit the ramp until the Marathon ends Saturday afternoon. Opportunities to view runners Downtown will exist on the avenues above Superior Street, Lake Place Park.

Bus Routes:

During the marathon, in the downtown area, DTA buses will use 1st Street in both directions between 6th Avenue West and 3rd Avenue East. Passengers should wait for buses at the nearside of intersecting avenues along 1st Street. In addition, Eastbound Routes 6 and 7 “From Downtown” will take 1st Street to 3rd Avenue East, to 2nd Street, to 14th Avenue East, to Superior Street, to 20th Avenue East, to 1st Street, to 21st Avenue East, to Superior Street and back to regular routing. Westbound Routes 6 and 7 “To Downtown” will use regular route to 21st Avenue East the take 21st Avenue East to 1st Street, to 20th Avenue East, to Superior Street, to 14th Avenue East , to 3rd Street, to 3rd Avenue East, to 1st Street to 6th Avenue West.

The Duluth Transportation Center (DTC) will be open, but no buses will serve it during the Marathon. Passengers are directed to board and alight buses along 1st Street during this time.

The Port Town Trolley will not provide regular service until Superior Street and 5th Avenue West reopen at approximately 3 p.m. Prior to that, the trolley will shuttle passengers between Canal Park and Bayfront Park.

Jefferson Lines will use the parking lot adjacent to the M&HGas Station in the 1200 block of West Michigan Street for passenger embarking and disembarking.

Be Alert:

Motorists in Duluth should be prepared to encounter high traffic volume and temporary delays throughout the Marathon weekend. Drivers in the Canal Park and DECC areas will encounter long delays Friday evening and Saturday. Please be alert and drive safely.