Posted at: 11/15/2013 12:04 PM
Updated at: 11/15/2013 4:59 PM
By: Katherine Johnson
Crews are done with work on a major road construction project on I-694 in Arden Hills. That means ramps that have been closed for months open Friday night after rush hour.
Despite the ramps re-opening, access to Old Highway 10 south of Ramsey County Road 96 will remain closed. Additional construction needed will delay the opening until next week. Motorists will continue to reach Old High Way 10 from the south.
The ramp closures and construction on I-694 in Arden Hills have been slowing drivers like Karl Oelker down for months.
"It's about time, we've been putting up with it for a long time," said Oelker.
At the Exxon gas station off of Lexington and I-694, pumps looked a little too empty Friday morning.
"Their habits have changed since the on ramps have been closed," said Exxon Manager Scott Dalen on why business has slowed to a near halt. "People are just trying to avoid where all the traffic is."
But finally, after a slow start to construction season, MnDOT's work is paying off. The new Highway 10 interchange and surrounding ramps and loops re-open Friday night after rush hour.
To celebrate, Dalen is even offering half off a wash and a wax to get those regular customers to start coming back.
"I've seen a couple customers already that stopped in yesterday and were like, 'Where have you been?' and they said, 'Oh this traffic has been awful!" said Dalen.
The best perk of all: drivers like Oelker can look forward to a quicker commute come Monday.
"We were counting the days," said Oelker.
The ramps will reopen but the final details like updating highway signs and storm water drainage plans will continue so drivers are asked to proceed with caution.