Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Allowable Lane Closure Manual

For work planning on MnDOT Roads in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area
Orange barrels on a highway

The Allowable Lane Closure Manual is used when planning and scheduling lane and/or shoulder closures on MnDOT owned and operated roadways. Please complete the following steps to request a lane or shoulder closure.

Step 1: Check the Allowable Lane Closure Reports to determine if a lane closure is allowed during the desired day and time.

The Allowable Lane Closure Reports determine the appropriate time of day for planned lane closures based on number of available lanes and traffic count data.

If a lane closure is not allowed, contact the appropriate Metro Work Zone Supervisor to discuss.

Step 2: Check the Impact Sensitive Routes Map to determine if the proposed lane closure is within an impact sensitive area.

The Impact Sensitive Routes Map is large data set of previously planned project and detour route locations and schedules.

If the work is within an impact sensitive area, contact the appropriate Metro Work Zone Supervisor to discuss.

Step 3: Complete a Lane Closure Form.

Step 4: At least 2 to 3 business days prior to the proposed closure, submit the completed Lane Closure Form to MetroLC.DOT@state.mn.us. See the form for more details.

For additional help or information, please contact the appropriate Metro Work Zone Supervisor to discuss.

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More Information and Guidance

Lane closures allowed by this manual are typically short term (12 hours or less) and will not divert or detour traffic. Advance notice signs (installed days in advance of a closure/project) are not typically required for lane closures allowed by this manual.

If a requested lane closures overlaps two or more adjacent report segments, please use the most restrictive report segment.

This manual is not intended to apply to emergency road maintenance and repairs that must be performed without planning. The judgment of field staff and necessity of the situation should determine the course of action in emergency situations.

The Temporary Traffic Control Field Manual from the Minnesota Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MnMUTCD) provides information on typical traffic control layouts, which may be used during a lane closure. The typical layouts contained in the Temporary Traffic Control Field Manual do not cover all situations. Because all situations differ, engineering judgment should be used to insure proper traffic control. The goal of temporary traffic control is to provide for the safe and efficient movement of traffic around the lane closure and in any location where the normal function of the roadway is temporarily suspended.

Purpose of the Manual

The purpose of the Allowable Lane Closure Manual is to provide information useful for advance planning of lane closures that will minimize traffic impacts and motorist delays while promoting safety for work crews and the traveling public. The Allowable Lane Closure Manual covers MnDOT owned and operated roadways within the Metro District.

Traffic congestion and backups may contribute to the cause of crashes and motorist delays. Traffic management practices that attempt to reduce congestion have a documented positive effect on crash rates, motorist travel times, and travel time reliability. Planned lane closures that do not cause a traffic flow "bottleneck" will cause only minor to moderate levels of congestion and backup and are an effective traffic management strategy.

How the Allowable Lane Closures are Determined

Traffic flow volumes from RTMC detectors and tube counters is collected, analyzed and formatted to display "Allowable Lane Closure" figures based on roadway location and time of day.

Determination of allowable lane closures is based on the Highway Capacity Manual and practical experience. On the freeway system, the manual assumes that one travel lane typically carries 1800 vehicles per hour. If the traffic volume demand is 1800 vehicles per hour or less, then only one travel lane must be open. If the traffic volume demand is between 1800 and 3600 vehicles per hour, then two travel lanes must be open. This pattern using increments of 1800 vehicles per hour continues as traffic volume demand increases. These "open lane" requirements are based on documented findings and observations that traffic flows less efficiently past work zones than it does through non-work zones.

Compiling and interpreting data for this application is subject to certain constraints and considerations. Seasonal and even daily traffic volume fluctuations are normal and will be observed frequently. The actual median traffic volume value seldom occurs, but a volume that is close to the median will often occur. The "Allowable Lane Closure" figures given in this manual have been smoothed to remove some of these data fluctuations and to make this manual easier to apply in the field. Special events and detours on other nearby parallel and intersecting roads may also change traffic volume patterns on a highway - see "Impact Sensitive Routes Review". These special circumstances must be observed and managed in the field as they occur.

The manual is divided into sections by roadway and each roadway is divided into segments. Segments are generally determined by the number of continuous lanes available along a highway corridor. The index maps illustrate where each roadway is broken down into numbered segments. The numbered segment directs the user to the correct page of the manual that provides tabulated traffic data. A system of shading is used to display the number of lanes that can be closed for each hour of the day. Users should note that lane closures on signalized roads have special Allowable Lane Closure figures that depend on the proximity of the closure to the signals. A lane closure that is closer than 500 feet to the signal may reduce the number of lanes that can be closed.

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Allowable Lane Closure Reports


Shoulder Closures are not allowed between 6am to 9am or between 3pm to 6pm, unless the Allowable Lane Closure Report indicates at least one lane may be closed.
These reports do not cover auxiliary lanes, ramps, or loops. If lane closures are needed in a location not addressed by these reports, then Metro District Traffic Engineering should be contacted. Any other questions about special event impacts and public notification requirements should also be referred to Traffic. Questions about traffic data should be directed to Metro District Traffic Engineering or the RTMC.
The Lane Closure Manual is presented here in Portable Document Format (PDF). You must use Adobe Acrobat Reader to view, print, or download each section of the Lane Closure Manual. Adobe Acrobat Reader software can be downloaded for free.
To view sections of the Lane Closure Manual, click on the appropriate individual link in the index (below). To return to this page to download additional roadway files, click the back arrow in the upper left corner of your browser window. To download some helpful tips for navigating Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files, select this link: Tips.

Reports (Click to open)

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Impact Sensitive Routes


* The terms "Increasing Direction" and "Decreasing Direction" refer to the reference post numbers and whether those numbers are increasing or decreasing as a vehicle travels along the route. Generally, a route reference post number increase in the Northbound and Eastbound directions and the reference post number decreases in the Southbound and Westbound directions. The I-494 and I-694 routes do not follow this general rule as do several routes that change direction along their route length. Ramps are always Increasing.

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