This report is from Day 10 of our 2005 Summer Vacation, on August 6, 2005.

Day 10 of the Froggie/Ladymegs 2005 Great Circle Tour (long)

The Froggie/LadyMegs 2005 Great Circle Tour, Day 10:  finally back in the hometown.

- Took a couple of nights off at my Aunt's cabin near Osakis, MN.  On the morning of our 10th day, we packed up and made the short jaunt into Minneapolis, though us being us, we didn't exactly take the direct path.

- The MN 23/MN 55/MN 4 junction in Paynesville is now a 4-way stop.  Previously, MN 23 had to stop but MN 55/MN 4 had right-of-way.  This is pretty much a temporary measure anyway as a new MN 23 Paynesville bypass will be built in a few years.

- My last time in Paynesville, what used to be MN 124 was completely closed for reconstruction.  It has now been reopened as Stearns CSAH 66....MN 124 having been decommissioned and turned back.

- Construction on US 12 in Litchfield had it detoured east of MN 22, via MN 24 and probably CSAH 34.

- Pavement on MN 7/MN 22 through Hutchinson was pretty rough shape.  It'll be nice when the upcoming reconstruction project redoes it.

- Several left turn lanes at major and some lesser junctions along MN 7 east of Hutchinson.  First traffic signal still isn't until St. Bonifacius though.  I've heard that MnDOT plans on putting roundabouts in at two of the accident-problem intersections along MN 7, including at the MN 25 junction.

- Previous reconstruction along MN 7 between St. Bonifacius and Excelsior is completed.  Added a few more left turn lanes along here, plus a traffic signal at Carver CR 13.

- Reconstruction of the I-494/MN 7 interchange is well underway, with MN 7 on a temporary bypass so crews can work on the new overpass.  The operating configuration of the interchange is that of a 5-ramp partial-cloverleaf, with a loop in the southeast quadrant to facilitate the heavier movements between MN 7 West and I-494 North.

- Continuing with the I-494 reconstruction project, between MN 7 and Minnetonka Blvd, all traffic is on the northbound side while the new southbound lanes are being built.  Between Minnetonka Blvd and I-394, traffic is on the outside of each direction while grading is underway in the median.  Grading is also going on along eastbound I-394 between the I-494 ramp merge and Plymouth Rd to support an additional auxiliary lane.

- First time in the newly minted "MnPASS" lanes on I-394...which were basically a conversion of the HOV lanes into HO/T (High-Occupancy/Toll) lanes.  All MnDOT did to perform the conversion was restripe the lanes and add some signs and gantries.  The HO/T lanes are striped with a double white line, prohibiting (but not preventing) crossover except at designated locations.  East of I-494 there were 4 designated access points:  in front of Ridgedale, at Shelard Pkwy, at Louisiana Ave, and at Xenia Pl (where the inside lane exits off onto the barrier-separated lanes east of MN 100).

- The rest of the run to my dad's apartment was uneventful.  We spent the next few days in the Twin Cities area visiting family, though I did get a ride along the newly completed widening/freeway conversion of MN 100.  MN 100 was reconstructed from Glenwood Ave to Brooklyn Blvd, eliminating the last 5 traffic signals along MN 100 in the process.  The reconstruction was done in concrete, with 6 lanes south of CSAH 81, a new diamond interchange at 36th Ave N, a full interchange at CSAH 9/42nd Ave (albeit access to northbound MN 100 is via a ramp connecting to the CSAH 81 interchange), a partial interchange at CSAH 81 favoring movements between MN 100 South and CSAH 81 North, and a new diamond interchange at France Ave.

- We left Minneapolis on August 10th, what would be Day 14 of the vacation.  More on that and the rest of the vacation to follow.

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