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27th Street construction offers unwelcome surprise to northbound drivers

Northbound traffic off 27th Street bridge gets directed right onto St. Paul
Northbound traffic off 27th Street bridge gets directed right onto St. Paul
Charlie's Digital

One of the most difficult construction projects of 2013 as been the resurfacing of N. 27th Street from St. Paul to Highland streets, sometimes known as the SOHI (South of Highland) area. The crossing at Wisconsin Avenue reopened two lanes in each direction in late October, but traffic in the stretch under construction remains one way south bound, which creates an awful surprise and inconvenience for drivers coming northbound on the bridge across the Menominee River valley.

At the north end, all summer and into the autumn months, drivers were suddenly compressed from two lanes to one, and directed by signs, barriers, and impassably rough torn up ground, to turn right onto St. Paul Ave. That left no convenient way to resume travel, particularly while 26th Street was also restricted -- which has now eased somewhat.

Wisconsin Avenue did not pose severe congestion after the first few weeks, because most commuters learned to avoid Wisconsin Avenue, and avoid going even southbound on 27th Street. However, there are some new closures on the horizon.

One of the most significant is closing the ramps to and from I-794 at the Lakeshore, to and from Lincoln Memorial Drive. From November 4 for about a year, there will be no access off the freeway eastbound or onto the freeway eastbound (really south) at that high-volume, convenient location. Commuters can get off eastbound at Van Buren/Jackson, and get on eastbound to the Hoand Bridge at Broadway -- the latter will generate a lot of congestion on the east side of downtown trying to get to the ramp.

Northbound commuters coming from the Hoan Bridge can continue to exit onto Lincoln Memorial Drive (or Michigan Street), and westbound traffic can still get onto I-794 / I-94 westbound from Lincoln Memorial Drive.

Another inconvenience that will be ending soon is the construction where Lison Avenue flows into West Capitol Drive. This is a key alternative to driving west in I-94 to north on Hwy 45 during major afternoon rush hours, but after just when the wary motorist is about to get onto the freeway north of the main congested arteries, construction has blocked the intersection and slowed the flow of traffic. That will be wrapped up at the end of November.

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