Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) -  A busy artery to and out of downtown Rochester will be a traffic nightmare for the next few weeks.

Two utility projects are scheduled to start Monday and will affect traffic on 2nd St SW between 6th and 16th avenues - essentially from near the downtown Mayo Clinic campus and a block west of  St Marys Hospital.

The city Public Works Department has this blunt advice:

Drivers are strongly encouraged to avoid 2nd Street SW in the upcoming weeks. This roadway will be significantly congested due to two separate utility projects requiring lane closures as well as a current, short-term increase in bus and shuttle traffic. Areas of 2nd Street SW will be reduced to one lane in each direction. Drivers should use alternate routes or consider alternative modes of transportation into the downtown during this time.

The work will also have significant impacts to transit service, including detours on many routes, temporary relocation of stops, and system-wide delays. Rochester Public Transit will be posting complete information online at www.rptride.com. Users of other transit services should check with their providers.

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