Ramp closures signal start of Rice, I-694 interchange construction

Ramsey County work to replace the Rice Street and Interstate 694 interchange began to impact traffic March 18 with the first ramp closures related to the project. 

The county said in a newsletter release that the ramp from eastbound I-694 to Rice Street, and the westbound I-694 ramp from Rice Street, would be closed for an expected five months, with posted detours.

The interchange, where Little Canada, Shoreview and Vadnais Heights come together, is one of the oldest remaining pieces of infrastructure in the I-694 corridor. Area elected officials had long sought to replace the more than 60-year-old Rice Street bridge for decades, before a state bonding bill provided needed funding for the work in 2017.

The project, estimated to cost more than $30 million, will replace the dilapidated bridge with three new spans, while replacing the four intersections that crowd the current bridge with three roundabouts.

Rice Street will remain open throughout the expected two years of construction, the county said, though on April 1 lane shifts on the road will begin. 

Traffic from North Owasso Boulevard to Vadnais Boulevard will be moved to the east side of the road with a single lane open in each direction, the county said. The other side of Rice Street will be closed for construction.

The county said its goals for the interchange replacement are to improve traffic operations on Rice Steet and through the area, to prioritize the throughway’s most vulnerable users and ensure they have equitable and safe movement throughout, and to improve economic development in the area.

For more information about the project and to sign up for construction updates, go to www.ramseycounty.us and search I-694/Rice Street Interchange.

 

—Mike Munzenrider

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