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DTA moves to ease traffic congestion during I-35 construction season with Grand Avenue Park and Rides, express buses with “buses only” express lanes and FREE round trip “rush-hour” fares for commuters west of 46th A.W.

Published: Expires: 4/21/2009

Mn/DOT and the DTA have teamed-up to ease expected traffic congestion on I-35 and Grand Avenue during the construction season by providing FREE round-trip express service for morning commuters boarding buses at Grand Avenue Park & Ride lots and mainline bus stops along Grand Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue west of 46th A.W. The DTA’s “FREE-Round-trip Fare Express“ option for commuters begins Monday, April 26th – one week in advance of the I-35 construction start-up.

The DTA has established four temporary Park & Rides on Grand Avenue and will provide free round-trip express service between these Park & Rides lots and downtown Duluth during weekday peak hours. The City of Duluth has established “Buses Only” express lanes on Grand Avenue between Central Avenue and Carlton Street that will be utilized by all DTA express and mainline buses during morning and afternoon peak hours. Express buses will operate in “non-stop” express mode between 46th A.W. and downtown Duluth.

Mn/DOT is scheduled to embark on a major 2-year construction project on I-35 beginning May 3rd that will continue through the 2011 construction season. This will have a significant impact on commuters traveling into Duluth from the south, as well as residents of the western part of the city, as much of the traffic is expected to be diverted onto Grand Avenue. Traffic will be restricted to one lane only on I-35 between Proctor and Duluth. In addition, many on and off ramps will be closed while under construction.

The DTA will provide the following to ease I-35 traffic congestion beginning April 26th:

  • Spirit Mountain lower parking lot at 8600 Grand Avenue
  • Asbury Methodist Church parking lot at 6822 Grand Avenue
  • Bethany Baptist Church parking lot at 6700 Grand Avenue
  • Our Savior’s Lutheran Church parking lot at 4831 Grand Avenue

West Express buses will board and drop off passengers from inside the Spirit Mountain Park & Ride. West Mainline buses (#2 and #2F) will board passengers in the morning and drop off passengers in the afternoon at the entrance to the Spirit Mountain Park & Ride on Grand Avenue.

Parking is free in these Grand Avenue Park & Ride lots.

Commuters from south of Duluth are advised to exit I-35 at the Midway Road exit and drive south on Becks Road, east on Grand Avenue to Park and Ride lots.

West Express and West Mainline Service from Park & Ride lots and West Duluth:

  • West Express and West Mainline service will be provided between Grand Avenue Park & Ride lots, downtown Duluth, the SMDC Medical Campus and St. Luke’s Hospital during morning and afternoon peak hours.
  • West Express buses will board and drop off passengers from inside the Spirit Mountain Parking lot.
  • West Express, New Duluth Express and Proctor Express buses will serve all bus stops west of 46 A.W.; but will operate in a “non-stop express mode” between 46th A.W. and downtown Duluth during morning and afternoon peak hours.

FREE ROUND-TRIP FARES from Park & Rides and bus stops west of 46th A.W. will be provided

  • Weekday commuters boarding West Express and regular route buses west of 46th A.W. during morning peak hours (buses arriving downtown between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.) will receive FREE ROUND-TRIP transportation on the DTA.
  • Passengers will be issued a transfer upon boarding the bus in the morning, which will be good for a FREE return trip any time that day.

“Buses Only” Express Lanes will be provided along Grand Avenue:

  • On-street parking along Grand Avenue between Central Avenue and Carlton Street will be restricted during weekday morning and afternoon peak hours to provide a dedicated bus lane – south-side parking will be prohibited during morning peak hours and north-side parking will be prohibited during afternoon peak hours.
  • “Peak-Hour” Express lanes will be dedicated to DTA buses only – including West Express and non-express West Mainline buses.

Proctor and New Duluth Express buses will not operate on I-35 during construction:

  • New Duluth (2X) and Proctor (3X) Express buses will not operate on I-35 during the construction season, due to expected delays; but will run on Grand Avenue to Carlton Street and Michigan Street to downtown.
  • Proctor and New Duluth Express buses will run in non-stop express mode after 46th A.W. and Grand Avenue.

The DTA and Mn/DOT are encouraging commuters traveling into Duluth from the south on I-35, as well as local residents in the western part of the city, to take advantage of the FREE DTA commuter express service from the Grand Avenue Park & Rides and along Grand Avenue during the 6-month construction season.

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