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Center for Transportation Studies

Webinar Available


TH-36 Full Road Closure: Lessons for the Future

Part of the Advanced Transportation Technologies Seminar Series — Spring 2009. For more information, contact Shawn Haag, 612-625-5608 or

April 30, 2009

Speaker: John Hourdos, Director, Minnesota Traffic Observatory

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. CST, Room 1130, Mechanical Engineering Building

View Webinar Recording

Seminars also will be broadcast live on the Web and available for later viewing. A reminder will be sent prior to each seminar with details about the Webcast. See the webinar viewing instructions for more information.

On May 1, 2007, a 2-mile section of Trunk Highway 36 (TH36) in North St. Paul, Minnnesota, was closed for four months. Although this was not the first full road closure conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT), it was, at that point, the longest in the metro area and of a corridor the size of TH36. The scope of the project was to upgrade the roadway by eliminating all at-grade intersections between White Bear Lake Avenue and TH120, and to construct an interchange at McKnight Road. The Transportation Engineering and Road Research Alliance (TERRA) featured the project at a daylong open-house event November 1, 2007 near the construction site.

Early on, Mn/DOT expressed the desire to learn from this experience, which involved innovative contracting, extensive public involvement, and new construction techniques. As a result, a University of Minnesota research team was tasked with evaluating the selection of full closure (instead of the more traditional partial closure). In addition, the research team followed the progress of the project and analyzed information from all available sources to evaluate the traffic-operation assumptions made and actions planned during the construction. They also established criteria for analysis methodologies and tools required for similar projects in the future. Moreover, the research team followed the progress of the project through the eyes of local stakeholders by conducting a series of interviews during the project and after it was completed.

The main objective of the research has been to develop a full-closure decision guide to assist in future projects considering full closure as a construction alternative. This seminar will summarize major findings from the research study of the TH36 reconstruction process and present the lessons learned.