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Brian Davis is feeling pretty good this weekend.

That’s because for the first time in six months, a section of eastbound Excelsior Boulevard — right outside his Hopkins barbershop — is back open again.

“Oh, so much better now, since the road’s open,” Davis, the owner of Brian D’s Old School Barbers says. “We can get our traffic going back through in both directions, clients can get in much better, it’s so much better.”

The shutdown, near Jackson Avenue North, is because of elevated construction of the Green Line Extension (GLE) Excelsior Bridge over the roadway and railroad here.

The bridge is just one part of the $2.7-billion project to connect downtown Minneapolis with Hopkins, Eden Prairie, and other suburbs in the west metro.

“It’s wonderful,” smiles Randy Maanum, the owner of the Batteries R Us store. “We can pull in right here… so that’s good.”

Maanum — who says the store has been operating for 15 years — says he’s excited about the returned traffic access.

He says for months, many customers had to do quite a bit of rerouting just to get to his front door.

“Well, substantially, a lot of our customers had a hard time coming to us,” Maanum explains. “We had some people saying I tried three times, and I just can’t get there.”

A new digital sign is alerting drivers that the road is now open.

For Todd Tiedeman, who moved to the area just before the boulevard was shut down, this is much better than getting lost on neighborhood streets.

“For me it was confusing because I could use Excelsior,” he says. “That was my main thorough when I first moved here, just to find things.”  

But Davis says the road closure has come at a price.

He estimates during the six-month road closure, his business has fallen off by 20%.

“It kept me from hiring a new barber,” he recalls. “Because of the traffic, I was feeling maybe not enough business with the road being shut down.”

Asked for comment, a Metropolitan Council spokesperson referred 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS to the council’s website, which says in part:

“These projects are not possible without the public’s vital partnership and patience during extended closures such as the one endured in Hopkins this summer. We sincerely appreciate the public’s patience and flexibility throughout this work.”

Construction on the bridge began in August of 2019.

The Met Council says more work needs to be done, including installing the track, fencing, and painting.

They expect to finish the bridge by next year.

Excelsior Boulevard is expected to remain open in both directions throughout the winter.

Davis, meanwhile, says he’s hoping to make that hire.

And despite the traffic headaches, he says he believes when the Green Line here is finished, it could mean big things — both for his shop, and for Hopkins.  

“I think it’s going to be really good once it comes in,” Davis says. “They got a few transit stops in between, east of me and west of me. The neighborhood’s really inviting, I think it’s going to work out really well.”