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Drivers who use Hwy. 55 to get into downtown Minneapolis will have to find another route starting Monday when a short segment of the road closes for two weeks.

The highway will be closed between Van White Memorial Boulevard and Lyndale Avenue just west of downtown. Drivers will be detoured to Hwy. 100 and I-394, but Glenwood Avenue or Plymouth Avenue are other alternates.

Access to neighborhoods and Summit Academy OIC will be maintained, but all other traffic will be prohibited from the quarter-mile section of the highway that will be closed. Metro Transit Route 19 buses, which run on Olson Highway, will be rerouted and rider alerts to direct passengers to other stops will be posted.

Crews from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the City of Minneapolis are coordinating the work, which includes replacing a structurally deficient 130-year-old storm sewer pipe and relocating to make room for light-rail tracks for the Blue Line extension and a platform at Van White Memorial Boulevard, the Met Council said.

"Coordinating the work is saving roughly $3 million and minimizing impacts to the traveling public by avoiding MnDOT crews from having to repair the tunnel now and having other crews relocate it underground during LRT construction," said Dan Soler, director of the Blue Line Extension LRT project.

The Blue Line Extension, also known as the Bottineau Line, will extend light-rail service from downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park with 11 stations in north Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park.

Crews will work around the clock to keep the closure as short as possible, Soler said.

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