Southbound I-35 to remain closed for at least a week

By KBJR News 1

November 19, 2013 Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 6:56 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The south bound lanes of I-35, between Lake and 21st Avenue west in Duluth are expected to remain closed for at least a week.

All of a sudden, people are finding they can't take the highway South in Duluth and it's created some congestion and even some confusion.

"I couldn't get back onto my usual route and I had to stop and ask for directions... HELP." Said Jane Wikum, who was trying to make her way over the bridge to Wisconsin.

MnDOT officials say bridge inspectors identified a deteriorated piling late last week and said it needed to be repaired before the southbound lanes can be reopened.
This deterioration comes as a surprise to many following the just completed three year, 67-million dollar MEGA project that replaced pavement and bridges from Boundary Avenue all the way 26th Avenue East.
That work, however, did not include support piers.
MnDOT officials are saying it's best to fix the problem right away.

"We decided that we needed to close traffic in that direction so we can make repairs to that piling that deteriorated. We didn't see any signs of failure in the piling, but we wanted to make sure there wasn't ever a problem so we're doing this as a precautionary measure." Said Duane Hill, District 1 Engineer for MnDOT.

In the meantime, drivers will need to be rerouted which add some time to commutes.

A temporary support for the road will be put in place while the construction is underway.
A permanent plan to replace the pilings has been approved and contractors for MnDOT will be working on the project throughout the week.

Posted detours will take motorists through downtown Duluth using East 3rd Street... to Mesaba to Michigan.

The parade route for the Christmas City of the North Parade won't change but getting to and from the parade could be more challenging.

MN DOT is encouraging people to get an early start and to be patient.

Bryce Henry
bhenry@kbjr.com