I-494 Rehab Project Could Cost Drivers 27 Minutes

Updated: 11/17/2013 12:24 AM KSTP.com By: Josh Rosenthal

A well-traveled stretch of interstate is eight months away from a major makeover that will last more than two years.

The construction will stretch across seven miles of I-494, between I-94 and I-394. The Minnesota Department of Transportation says it could cost drivers an extra 27 minutes per trip.

Workers will repair the pavement along that stretch, maintain the bridges, and widen the right shoulder. That shoulder will then be used as an extra lane during peak hours of traffic.

That doesn't sit well with a lot of people who live nearby, like John Mack, who lives in Maple Grove. He says MnDOT should just create a permanent third lane, not a hybrid.

"I don't understand why they wouldn't just bite the bullet and do all the work at once," he explained.

MnDOT says they're studying that option, but it would cost a lot of money. They say in the mean time, the shoulder/extra lane combo -- what they call a "dynamic shoulder" -- should cut down on traffic and cost a lot less money.

"We have a study that's gonna be starting to help us identify what that long range vision for the corridor will be," said MnDOT Project Manager Scott Pedersen. And as far as that extra 27 minutes goes, Pedersen explained, "you have 95,000 people using that roadway today. To reduce that capacity in the peak periods, you're gonna have delay. You're squeezing."

The public is invited to attend an open house this Tuesday to find out more about the construction. It'll be held at Plymouth's city hall, and it starts at 4 p.m. MnDOT staff will make a 30-minute presentation at 6 p.m. and take questions afterwards.