Highway 169 Construction Impacts Bus Routes
Get ready for plenty of slow and go. In a few days the hassle factor on U.S. Highway 169 in Brooklyn Park and Champlin will get worse.
Road work gets under way and lane closures will make delays common. This will also affect school bus routes.
“There will be some bumps in the road,” said Jenifer Doyle of First Student Bus Company in Champlin. “So prepare yourself for a little bit of a hiccup.”
The major road construction project begins Monday, May 7. MnDOT will be doing road resurfacing, bridge repair and intersection improvements. Officials say it could cause “epic” traffic jams.
“Buses may be late,” said Keith Paulson, transportation director for the Anoka-Hennepin School District. “I went out to bus companies and told bus drivers, pretend it started snowing the morning of May 7 and it’s going to snow all summer.”
First Student has a fleet of approximately 200 buses that run in the district. The company has been anticipating a 169 traffic crawl for months.
“We’ve done some rerouting with a lot of our routes to try and get them away from that traffic cluster that’s going to be starting on Monday,” said Doyle.
The bus company also wants drivers to come in earlier than normal.
“As we get into Monday if we see routes that are being greatly impacted, we’ve got a lot of late arrivals, we’ll be adjusting those as we move through and continue to work with the district,” added Doyle.
The Highway 169 project will be a moving target. Every two weeks MnDOT will be working on a different cross street that intersects with the highway.
“About the time we’ve got it figured out,” Paulson said. “It’s going to change a little bit.”
To get daily bus information during construction, the Anoka-Hennepin School District and First Student have come up with a way to keep parents informed. That includes downloading First Student’s FirstView bus tracking app.
According to MnDOT, it typically takes seven to 10 days for traffic patterns to normalize during a construction project of this scope. The entire 169 construction project stretches from Highway 610 in Brooklyn Park to the Mississippi River bridge in Champlin.