Posted at: 12/11/2013 5:26 PM
Updated at: 12/11/2013 5:32 PM
A portion of I-35 in Duluth reopened on Wednesday after three weeks of repairs. Drivers said it will save them time a some stress.
Cars and trucks merges smoothly off ramps that were full of snow and ice just 24 hours earlier. Still drivers remember the detour delays caused by the closure of I-35 between Lake Avenue and 27th Ave. W.
“I actually timed it once and it was 15 to 20 minutes from downtown to 27th Ave. W.,” Pamela Page said.
“It was rough having to go all the way around and then get caught up with the traffic being so back up all the way to the library,” Lachonce Buckner said.
Page said the recent snow and sub-zero temperatures made it troublesome to trek along the detour on Superior and Michigan St.
“Just a lot of traffic coming out of downtown especially, and trying to get home in the slippery conditions it made it kind of scary sometimes,” Page said.
Minnesota Department of Transportation engineers said that weather made the repair process slower, especially setting the concrete underneath the roadway.
The engineers said contractors braved the cold and snow to replace a large section of steel that supports the interstate. Estimates put the cost around $750,000, but drivers said it was worth it.
“Very, very, very happy. Yes, very happy, and I think it's going to be safer,” Page said.
MnDOT officials said the repairs were prompted by the discovery of significantly compromised support pilings. The engineers said the freeway is now safe for travel, but they will inspect the pilings again next summer.