The Summer of Detours is about to Begin |

The Summer of Detours is about to Begin

Darren Danielson
Updated: February 28, 2020 09:26 PM

Getting around in downtown Duluth could be challenging this summer.

It is year three of the Superior street reconstruction and now the massive can of worms reconstruction project will be getting underway.

Pointing to a large map on the wall of his office, MNDOT major projects engineer, Pat Huston tells us, "The project is basically from Garfield avenue to just south of 27th avenue west."

It's a $340-million dollar redesign for the can of worms, officially called the twin ports interchange.

"From a traffic stand point," Huston says, "we will be one lane in each direction on I35 this summer from just south of 27th avenue west to just north of Garfield avenue."

Huston says there are three main reasons for the project. To improve safety, to replace aging infrastructure and to accomodate larger truck loads into and out of the port. Feedback MNDOT has received at various public open house meetings over the last several months has been supportive.

"Area residents seem to understand the circumstances we are facing and are looking forward to having the blind merges and bad spots fixed," he said.

In order to fix them however, traffic needs to be redirected off I35 to sides streets.

"The most challenging part of any construction process is the first two weeks as we set up traffic control and all the drivers get used to them, Huston said. "So we'll watch how it plays out and if we need to make adjustments, we will."

There will of course be signage to direct traffic through all the detours but Huston advises drivers begin planning ahead, even now. He suggests you locate your own alternate routes now to get to work, school, or the grocery store.

"If you can travel a little earlier than normal, a little later than normal, allow extra time, take a bus, telecommute, those are all good alternatives to consider," Huston said. "It's going to be challenging, it's not going to be easy but we've had overwhelming public support knowing how bad the ramps are."

Huston said that motorists should expect to see detour signs start popping up around the end of April to early May.


Darren Danielson

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