Northwest Passage near Michigan Street in Duluth to be closed temporarily

By KBJR News 1

August 14, 2014 Updated Aug 14, 2014 at 9:18 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- As the demolition phase of the Duluth Transit Authority's new Multimodal Transportation Center project continues to move forward it will cause some difficulties for pedestrians.

To make room for the new $28-million multimodal transportation center in Duluth, the Salter Building was taken down and demolition of the Wells Fargo parking ramp is next.

Project managers say they're excited about what the changes will bring.

"It's going to get a lot of the congestion off of Superior Street. Particularly the congregation of people waiting for the buses will be removed from the Holiday Center and the transit center on the lower side. It'll all take place down below Michigan Street now in a covered environment. So during the winter time people won't be standing out on the curb waiting for the bus," said Dennis Jensen, DTA general manager.

To continue progress, the Northwest Passage, connecting the DECC with Michigan Street, over the freeway and railroad tracks, will close temporarily starting Monday, August 18th.

It will remain closed for big blocks of the day through Wednesday August 20th.

"They won't be shut down 'till seven o'clock in the morning so people are parking at the DECC and they need to get in downtown before that time they can still walk across the skywalk. About ten till seven until five thirty it will be shut down, and after five thirty they'll be able to have access to it as well," said Jensen.

During that time, Jensen says they'll provide a free shuttle service from the DECC to downtown.

Designer of the project, Aaron Kelly, says the renovations are all about elevating the experience for bus travelers.

"Make it some place that feels like when you are at the airport," said Kelly.

He says it will also bring more parking to the downtown area near the current Wells Fargo Parking Ramp.

"That lot was condemned the last several years. It wasn't available parking. So we're adding 400 spaces to the core of downtown," said Kelly.

The transportation hub will have a new passenger terminal, bus loading platforms, bike spaces, and a new Duluth police sub-station.

All in an effort to beautify the downtown area, attracting more people to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Northland.

The demolition is a three week process, which is expected to be completed by September 2nd.

Construction of the multi-modal center is projected to be finished by December of 2015.

Elsa Robins