by Alicia Miller
ECM Sun Publishers
Motorists traveling along Highway 610 have had to get off the road at Elm Creek Boulevard or County Road 81 in Maple Grove for the past several years. But that changed on the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 9.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation officially opened the segment connecting Highway 610 from Elm Creek Boulevard/County Road 81 to Interstate 94 to traffic in both directions on Dec. 9.
The final 3 miles of roadway fills in the gap between Elm Creek Boulevard and I-94 in Maple Grove, allowing motorists to travel through the northern Twin Cities suburbs between I-35W in Mounds View to I-94 in Maple Grove. Highway 610 runs approximately 11 miles between the junction of highways 10 and 47 on the border of Blaine and Coon Rapids and I-94 in Maple Grove.
Planning for Highway 610 began back in 1973. The roadway has been completed in segments since then. The first segment was constructed in 1986, between Highway 252 and at the junctions of Highway 47 and Highway 10.
In 1999, the second segment was completed, which extended the road from Highway 10 to Highway 169. The third segment was a second Mississippi River bridge.
In 2011, the fourth segment completed Highway 610 from Highway 169 to Elm Creek Boulevard/County Road 81.
Work began on this last 3-mile segment in 2014.
The $80 million expansion of Highway 610 in Maple Grove is one of the Corridors of Commerce initiatives to reduce travel times and improve safety. It will also help businesses transport their products more efficiently to meet the needs of the state’s growing economy. The new highway corridor also will help continue economic growth and create jobs within the northwest Twin Cities suburbs.
Although the road is now open, there is additional cleanup, landscaping and barricade work that remains to be completed next spring.
MnDOT officials stated: “What remains (of the project) is to connect westbound Highway 610 to eastbound I-94. In addition, the future Highway 610 extension will complete the roadway to County Road 30, southwest of I-94 and the future interchange with Highway 610. The County Road 30 corridor westward serves a large area between I-94 and Highway 55. That currently does not have an arterial roadway system.”
If anyone would like more information on the Highway 610 project, visit www.mndot.gov/metro/projects/610west.