Twin Cities freeway traffic nears pre-pandemic levels
Heading back to work after Memorial Day? The commute might remind you of the days of 2019.
Driving the news: Traffic in the Twin Cities is back to within 10-15% of pre-pandemic levels, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
- Afternoon traffic volumes are higher than mornings.
Flashback: Freeway traffic levels plummeted to 52% below normal in the Twin Cities metro last spring, when the pandemic and government restrictions forced people to stay in their homes.
- It dipped again in the winter but rebounded all spring as Minnesotans get vaccinated.
What's ahead: Expect traffic to keep increasing as the summer carries on.
- As Axios reported two weeks ago, companies have chosen three common dates to bring remote office workers back: June 1, July 6 and Sept. 7 — the Tuesdays after holiday weekends.
- So far about 23% of downtown Minneapolis office workers and about 20% of St. Paul workers are back, according to the Minneapolis Downtown Council and Saint Paul Downtown Alliance.
What to watch: Traffic should be heavier Tuesdays through Thursdays, the days companies using hybrid work models plan to have most of their employees on-site, according to a Minneapolis Downtown Council survey.
- 80% of downtown Minneapolis employers expect to bring their workers back 3-5 days a week and 70% of them expect to have at least half of their employees back this fall, according to the council.
Our thought bubble: The empty roads weren't going to last forever, but at least we knocked out a year of construction backups on Interstate 35W in Minneapolis and Highway 5 near the airport.
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