After this weekend, lord willing, DART's replacement of downtown's light rail track will finally be over. The work was scheduled to be done at the end of November, but bad weather has forced the final weekend of work to be pushed to tomorrow and Sunday, leaving Christmas shoppers downtown and all points south and east in a lurch.
For DART, using the upcoming weekend as a contingency is the lesser of multiple evils. It couldn't use December 6 and 7 because of the Adolphus Children's Parade and it couldn't use December 13 and 14 because of the marathon. Letting the work slide into January means greater potential for winter storms and conflict with the first College Football Playoff championship. The phases of the replacement, DART spokesman Morgan Lyons says, each require two full days of work, so missing one day means missing the whole weekend.
The biggest shopping destination to be affected tomorrow is Northpark Center. Workers and potential patrons will have to navigate the multiple buses replacing rail trips downtown, adding at least 11 or 12 minutes to their trips.
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Lyons recommends shoppers plan ahead and be prepared for their trips to take a little more time than usual.