I-35W construction will begin August 2017 and never, ever end

David Joles, Star Tribune

David Joles, Star Tribune

Someday soon, you will get into traffic on I-35W and never get off.

You and your fellow trapped commuters will learn to adjust, first sharing snacks, leftovers, and bottles of water, later learning to collect rainwater and forage for edible grasses and trap varmints along the roadside. You will erect primitive lean-tos and build fires using old copies of City Pages and wood-panel doors, forever hoping that someday the cars begin moving, and civilization might begin anew.

This we learned from a story Monday in the Southwest Journal, which reports on the beginning of a construction project which is long in the making, badly needed, and will eviscerate the very souls of anyone who lives in south Minneapolis -- or south of Minneapolis -- and drives to and from work in the city. 

According to the Journal, the road work will start in August, and it's scheduled to carry on for four years. As in, until late 2021, at the earliest. That is at least two presidents from now! 

The $265 million project will see lane closures starting this year, though the already-crowded commuter artery will never fully close. For updates on how many lanes are affected at a given time, try searching the rage-twisted faces of your colleagues. If they are nonspeaking and catatonic, you may want to keep to city streets and avoid the freeway.

The construction will also close bridges that cross 35W, which will receive maintenance care one by one. 

The biggest physical change resulting from this interminable road work is a new Lake Street transit station. The site will mirror the look of the 46th Street Station, which stands in the midle of the I-35W.

According to an artist's rendering of the station obtained by the Journal, cars will have all but abandoned 35W by the time the Lake Street station's built, with the exception of a handful of all-white vehicles ferrying the ghosts of people who perished in the Great I-35W Traffic Jam Famine of 2019.  

Speaking of that station, its users are the real winners in this plan: Whereas at present, bus drivers on I-35W must do their best impression of Sandra Bullock in Speed, this project includes a "transit-only access ramp" for riders taking the Lake Street station to downtown Minneapolis or beyond. 

Sounds great! Sounding less great: Lake Street will "lose a lane in each direction during construction."

*Bangs head on steering wheel until unconscious.*

If indeed traffic is supposed to teach us about the need for other modes of transportation, south Minneapoils is about to learn a very long, painful lesson. 

In a related story, the Southwest Light Rail Transit line is on schedule to be completed by fall of 3375