On Tuesday, May 31, Downtown workers and residents returned from the long Memorial Day weekend to find Nicollet Mall buses replaced by "Road Closed" signs.
Daytime buses have been rerouted to Hennepin Avenue for approximately two weeks while the Minneapolis Department of Public Works repairs the mall's concrete surface. (Nighttime buses are rerouted for the summer, a move unrelated to the current construction.)
Minneapolis Police Beat Officer Dave Shotley, on bicycle patrol on the mall, was surprised to hear that the street would be closed for more than a few days. Shotley said he found out about it May 31 - the day it happened.
Public Works Director Mike Kennedy apologized for the lack of notice. "The last thing we want to do is spring this on people," he said.
Kennedy said no word was sent out, and the "routine repair" was not posted on the Public Works Web site. He said Public Works patches and replaces some of the mall's concrete slabs and joints every year. Workers will also repair curbs, "catch-basins" and manholes.
Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons said the bus company was not notified until May 24 - one week before work started - and signs were posted "within a day" on Nicollet Mall, with a rider alert and map posted May 27.
Kennedy said repairs on the northbound side were almost complete by June 1, the second day of work, but the concrete needs three to five days of "cure time" before buses can return. The Farmers' Market and this week's Great Northern Bike Race will not be affected.
Gibbons said the detour should last about 10 days, weather permitting. For more information, see www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/stoponred.