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 fall 2017.

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Detours and traffic considerations

Detours

The eastbound lanes of Washington Avenue between 2nd and 3rd avenues have temporarily reopened and will only be kept open as much as the project can allow. However, temporary closures are anticipated for various activities. 

Eastbound traffic on Washington Avenue (County Road 152) is detoured to 4th Street between 2nd and 5th avenues. This detour will remain in place until fall.

Westbound Washington Avenue will remain open through 2017, although some short-term lane reductions are possible.

Restrictions and closures

Lane restrictions

Motorists should expect sporadic lane restrictions at both 3rd and 5th avenue intersections, both north and south of Washington Avenue. There will be continued access to businesses in the area. However, lane restrictions are to be expected.

The closures between 2nd and 3rd may happen with little or no advance warning.

There may also be temporary closures on Washington Avenue as work continues.

Sign up for project updates using the link above for the latest information related to restrictions and closures.

Cycle track remains closed

The new cycle track (off-street bike path) will remain closed until new traffic lights with bike-specific signals are installed. 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.

Construction timeline

Prior to the reconstruction, utility crews relocated utilities in 2016. County crews followed behind to begin the county’s reconstruction efforts.

Reconstruction work for 2017 began in March. Crews are working on the southern half between 2nd Avenue South and 5th Avenue South.

During this closure crews are removing and replacing utilities, as well as reconstructing the road and sidewalks. New traffic signals will be installed. And, there will be a new cycle track (off-street bike path) on both sides of the road.

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 19MB)

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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