Washington Avenue reconstruction

County Road 152 in downtown Minneapolis

Hennepin County, in coordination with the City of Minneapolis, is reconstructing Washington Avenue South (County Road 152) between Hennepin Avenue and 5th Avenue South.

Utility relocation work began early in 2016. County crews began reconstruction work in August 2016. The project is scheduled to be complete in 2017.

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Detours and traffic considerations

Westbound and eastbound lanes are now fully reopen to traffic on Washington Avenue between Hennepin and Portland avenues and major construction work is complete for the 2016 season. Thank you for your patience as we worked to reconstruct and improve this important route these last few months.

Winter travel considerations

As you navigate the reconstructed roadway over the winter months, please keep in mind:

  • Some orange cones and barriers will remain in place this winter. This is to help traffic and snow plows safely navigate the partially reconstructed road.
  • Sidewalks will remain open through the corridor and will be maintained by the City of Minneapolis.

Cycle track to remain closed

The new cycle track (off-street bike path) will remain closed over the winter until new traffic lights with bike-specific signals are installed early next year. This is to ensure the safety of bicyclists and other road users. If you are traveling by bicycle in the area, you may consider choosing an alternate route such as:

  • 2nd Street for traveling east or west
  • 3rd Street for traveling east
  • 4th Street for traveling west
  • West River Parkway for traveling east or west

All these routes run parallel to Washington Avenue and have dedicated bicycle infrastructure.

2017 detour

Reconstruction of eastbound lanes on Washington Avenue between Hennepin and 5th avenues will begin in spring 2017. At that time, a new detour will begin for eastbound traffic following Hennepin Avenue, 4th Street South and Portland Avenue.

Washington Avenue will remain open to westbound traffic throughout 2017. Some short-term lane reductions affecting westbound traffic are possible.

Construction timeline

Starting in spring 2016 and prior to the reconstruction, utility crews will be working in the area to relocate utilities.

County crews will follow behind the utility crews to begin the county’s reconstruction efforts. The reconstruction schedule is as follows:

2016

  • Summer/Fall: Start work on westbound lanes

2017

  • Spring: Complete work on westbound lanes  
  • Summer/Fall: Complete work on eastbound lanes

Anticipated construction staging plan (PDF)

Learn more

This section of Washington Avenue is part of County Road 152, which goes from Highway 62 in Minneapolis to County Road 81 in Brooklyn Park. County Road 152 is a turnback from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, who managed it when it was State Highway 52. The turnback status provides state money for completion of this project.  

When complete, the project will:

  • Add dedicated turn lanes at key intersections
  • Provide more space for pedestrians and shorten crossing distances at intersections
  • Provide one-way cycle tracks, or protected bike lanes

The project received approval of the preliminary layout from the Minneapolis City Council in 2014.

Preliminary layout 3 - January 2014 (PDF 6MB)

Washington Avenue corridor

Although construction will end at 5th Avenue South, the design was created to include the rest of Washington Avenue to I-35W. The concept plans will provide guidance as future projects are identified and as funding becomes available. In the interim, a striping project will add in-street bike lanes to Washington Avenue between Portland Avenue and I-35W in 2017. A similar striping project was completed in 2015, adding bike lanes from Hennepin Avenue to Plymouth Avenue.

Draft traffic operation analysis - April 2013 (PDF 9MB)

Existing conditions layout - May 2013 (PDF)

Land use context and typology - May 2013 (PDF 5MB)

Area wide plan - May 2013 (PDF 7MB)

Public involvement

Construction

A pre-construction open house was held in August 2016. 

Design 

A public meeting was held December 4, 2012. Attendees provided input on existing conditions, challenges, opportunities and preliminary alternatives.

Public involvement part 1 summary report (PDF 18MB) 

A second public meeting was held May 14, 2013 to gain public input on concept layout alternatives and urban design elements. Input was also gathered through online surveys and stakeholder meetings.

Public involvement part 2 summary report - July 2013 (PDF 12MB)

There was strong public feedback supporting a bicycle lane behind the curb to make it more accessible for bicyclists. Following these sessions, the staff developed Preliminary Layout 3.

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