Lots of action on I-94
Helicopters, explosions, a bridge taken out, high wire acts and a plan to stop a bad crash.
No, it's not a new blockbuster movie, it's all part of the action that's taking place on Interstate 94 in and around Alexandria this summer.
Motorists should be prepared for traffic slow-downs, detours and some unusual sights and sounds. Here's a summary of what's happening:
HELICOPTERS, EXPLOSIONS, WIRE WORK
Motorists traveling Interstate 94 between Alexandria and Freeport this summer have been noticing helicopters and crews working near the interstate.
It's part of the CapX2020 powerline project. Workers are using a helicopter to string conductor (wire) along several transmission structures that were installed along I-94.
They are also using explosives to fuse the wire onto the structures. The split second detonation or implosion creates a flash and a loud boom.
The Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and the CapX2020 utilities urge motorists to avoid gawking at the helicopter work and keep moving through the work zone.
Also, as part of that project, crews are installing a guard structure to prepare for a CapX2020 wire crossing over I-94.
Motorists on Interstate 94 between Alexandria and Osakis are expected to encounter intermittent lane closures starting Monday, June 10, weather permitting.
Traffic will be reduced to one lane intermittently during installation.
The work will last about one week, weather permitting.
Motorists on Interstate 94 near Alexandria will experience intermittent lane and shoulder closures because of a median barrier installation project that began June 10.
Crews will install the cable barrier along 10 miles of I-94 from mile post 96 to mile post 106.
Motorists should prepare to slow down in areas where crews are working.
Work is expected to last about two months near Alexandria. Crews will install cable barrier in the Moorhead area beginning in late July or early August.
Cable median barrier prevents vehicles from crossing medians and hitting oncoming traffic. Installing cable median barrier in strategic locations helps prevent fatal and serious injury crashes.
Motorists in the Alexandria area will encounter intermittent shoulder closures on Interstate 94 and lane closures on and near Highway 29 over the next several weeks for a sign replacement project.
Traffic on I-94 will encounter intermittent shoulder closures from milepost 100 near Lake Latoka to milepost 114 near the Osakis interchange.
The project also requires lane closures along and near Highway 29 in Alexandria. Crews will replace signs on signal mast arms at several intersections.
Work hours in Alexandria will be restricted to avoid periods of heavy traffic volume, but motorists should expect delays while crews are working.
Work is under way, and the project is expected to take about one month.
The sign work is necessary because of a highway transfer from MnDOT to Douglas County in November 2012. MnDOT turned back Highway 27 between I-94 west of Alexandria to Osakis. That road is now known as County Road 82 East. Highway 27 now follows I-94 in that area.
The Highway 78 bridge over Interstate 94 west of Evansville closed on May 30 for reconstruction.
Motorists will experience delays and detours during the project, according to MnDOT.
Traffic on I-94 will encounter intermittent weekday lane closures. Four lanes of traffic will remain open on weekends.
Crews plan overnight interstate closures in early June and early July. Traffic is being diverted onto the Highway 78 exit ramp and immediately back onto the entrance ramp to I-94.
Highway 78 traffic between Ashby and I-94 is being detoured on County Road 82 to either the Evansville or Dalton exits on I-94.
Local traffic is allowed to turn right onto I-94 entrance ramps and make right turns off of I-94 exit ramps during the project. Left turns on or off the ramps is not allowed because of the bridge closure.
All work on the reconstruction project is expected to be complete by the end of August, weather permitting.
When the bridge work is complete, motorists will notice a smoother and safer bridge, according to MnDOT.