MnDOT wraps up 169-494 construction in time for holiday travel - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

MnDOT wraps up 169-494 construction in time for holiday travel

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (KMSP) -

It's been a long time coming, and commuters are thankful that the interchange between Highway 169 and Interstate 494, which has been two years in the making, is finally finished.

Crews plan to complete the last few tasks before fully opening the interchange at midnight, and that means motorists who have been sitting in construction are now getting will soon get a holiday surprise.

"By tomorrow, you should be traveling in your permanent configuration heading through that stretch," said Kerstin Klein, with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The new interchange is nothing like what drivers in the area have been used to. In fact, if you're not paying attention, it'll seem like you're driving in circles -- and for good reason. There are six roundabouts on the frontage roads surrounding the interchange.

The West 78th Street frontage road was reopened shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, which links up with many of the roundabouts.

A bird's eye view shows the new traffic patterns now that the barriers along westbound I-494 are a thing of the past, allowing traffic direct access to the northbound and southbound flyways to 169. So far, traffic appears to be flowing smoothly through what has been one of the worst bottlenecks in the metro.

Drivers could still see crews in the area as the finishing touches are put on the landscaping in the area.

"They still will work on some of the culverts that they are still putting in that area," Klein said. "There may still be some work on curbs."

The project cost $124 million, and was completed exactly on time. MnDOT likes to have all of its major construction projects end on or before Thanksgiving, marking the traditional end to the construction season.

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