If you plan to head to Canal Park or downtown Duluth for the Christmas City of the North Parade or the UMD women's hockey game today, give yourself plenty of time.
The combination of an unplanned closure of southbound Interstate 35 and street closures for the annual parade may create quite a traffic headache.
The parade starts at 6:20 p.m. and will follow last year's route -- assembling on Railroad Street, crossing the Lake Avenue viaduct across I-35, then turning west on Superior Street and ending at Fifth Avenue West. The parade should end by 8:30 p.m.
Here's a roundup of detours and road closures for this evening:
Parade-route road closures will start at 2 p.m. along Railroad Street between Lake Avenue and Canal Park Drive. At 3 p.m. that will be extended to Garfield Avenue to allow floats to line up. The rest of the route, as well as I-35 exits to Lake Avenue, will close to traffic about 5:45 p.m.
Access to southbound I-35 at 26th Avenue East will be blocked starting at 5:30 p.m. until about 8:30 p.m. That's to encourage through-traffic from the North Shore to use the detour around downtown -- via London Road, 12th Avenue East, Third Street and Mesaba Avenue -- instead of exiting into the parade crowds at Fifth Avenue West.
The 21st Avenue East on-ramp to southbound I-35 will remain open to local traffic to provide access to Fifth Avenue West, downtown and Amsoil Arena. All traffic must exit southbound I-35 at Fifth Avenue West because of construction work beyond that point.
To access the DECC from downtown, take First Street to Sixth Avenue West, then go to Michigan Street, loop back to Fifth Avenue West and cross I-35. Traffic heading north on I-35 can use the Fifth Avenue West off-ramp.
During the parade the only access to Canal Park and Park Point will be across the Lake Avenue viaduct.
Traffic heading south from downtown and Canal Park after the parade will need to follow posted detours to get around the I-35 closure.