Marquette Avenue to close from 12th Street to Fifth Street beginning April 6

The work on another phase of the MARQ2 transit project in downtown Minneapolis will result in the closure of Marquette Avenue to through traffic, from 12th Street South to Fifth Street South, beginning Monday, April 6. Crews will begin removing the street surface as a first step in reconstructing the street and storm sewer underneath. Drivers should use alternate routes, however, one northbound lane will remain open to provide access to properties along these two blocks.

This work is part of the reconstruction of Marquette and 2nd avenues (MARQ2), which will add additional transit lanes, widen sidewalks, and improve the streetscape. The new transit lanes will dramatically increase the number of buses that will be able to use Marquette and 2nd avenues, allowing many express buses to be taken off Nicollet Mall and 3rd Avenue South and reducing peak bus traffic on the mall by about 35 percent. The dual transit lanes will also significantly decrease the time it takes buses to get through downtown. The reduction in peak period buses, coupled with the change in buses from diesel to hybrid electric, will make the Mall a quieter and more pleasant environment for pedestrians and sidewalk cafes.

Drivers in downtown Minneapolis should expect traffic delays throughout the year as MARQ2 enters its final and most extensive phase of construction. MARQ2 construction began last year, with utility work and paving on five of the northernmost blocks along these downtown streets. This year’s construction begins where last year’s left off and will generally work its way from north to south. All work will be completed by December 2009, as required by federal funding.

Published Apr. 2, 2009