Road Closures + Where To Park For Grandma’s Marathon Weekend In Duluth
It's time once again for Grandma's Marathon weekend in Duluth, which always fills the Northland with fun energy. Of course, with thousands of runners and spectators descending into the area to focus on the marathon and related activities, there will be traffic implications and the Duluth Police Department has released the official traffic advisory for the weekend.
While various lots will be closed throughout the week, the first road closure of note takes place at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, June 16 when Canal Park Drive from Railroad Street to Buchanan Street will be closed to most traffic to allow for Grandma's finish line set up. Guests staying in the hotels along Canal Park Drive will have limited use of the road to access their hotels on Friday. Canal Park Drive will remain closed to traffic until after the Grandma's Marathon finishes late on Saturday, June 17.
The major races begin Friday, June 16, with the running of the William A. Irvin 5K, which begins at 6:00 p.m.
For that race, Harbor Drive behind the DECC will close to traffic at 4:00 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., portions of Railroad Street will close to traffic for the duration of the race. Motorists should obey temporary “No Parking” areas on Railroad Street, Lake Place Drive, and Harbor Drive. Violators will be ticketed and towed.
Starting at 5:30 p.m., traffic delays will occur for up to two hours as portions of Railroad Street will close from Lake Avenue to 5th Avenue West. Southbound traffic on 5th Avenue West will be able to access the DECC parking lot via Railroad Street throughout the race. Harbor Drive behind the DECC will also be closed to traffic.
Other items of note for Friday evening:
- The Aquarium parking lot will not be accessible from 5:30 p.m. until approximately 7:15 p.m.
- Traffic looking to access Pier B Resort or Bayfront Park parking lots can only do so from the West between 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
- Access to the DECC during the race will be through the North Gate (on Railroad Street) or the East Gate (on Harbor Drive), from Lake Avenue or 5th Avenue West. Outbound traffic from the DECC will only be from the West Gate (5th Avenue West) from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m.
- Vehicles on northbound I-35 exiting on the 5th Avenue West off-ramp can either continue straight to
- Lake Avenue to access the DECC Lot or turn right onto 5th Avenue West to access the DECC Lot via Railroad Street.
- Most traffic should return to normal by 7:30 p.m. Watch for no parking signs, barricades, and Officers directing traffic when driving in the area of this event.
Saturday, June 17, brings the running of Grandma's Marathon and the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. Needless to say, events of this scope require several road closures, which begin early in the morning:
- Scenic Highway 61, along Lake Superior from Duluth to Two Harbors, will close to traffic at 4:15 a.m.
- Scenic Highway 61, between McQuade Road and Ryan Road, will close at 3:45 a.m. for the half marathon start set-up.
- Motorists should slow down and be alert to special signing and lane closures on Highway 61
- Expressway just south of Two Harbors, starting at 4:15 a.m.
- All access roads located between MN-61 Expressway and Scenic Hwy 61, including Isackson Road, Salakka Road, Central Avenue, Alseth Road, Lakewood Road, Homestead Road, Ryan Road, and McQuade Road, will close at 4:15 a.m.
- Harbor Drive, from the DECC East Gate to the Aquarium, will be restricted to buses only at 4:30 a.m.
- Harbor Drive will close to all traffic at 5:30 a.m.
- Most avenues leading to London Road will close at 4:30 a.m.
- The southbound lanes of I-35 from 21st and 26th Avenues East will close at 4:30 a.m.
Starting at 5:30 a.m., the following road closures will be in place until the end of the Grandma's Marathon:
- All of London Road
- Superior Street from 12th Avenue East to 5th Avenue West
- Michigan Street from 4th Avenue East to 5th Avenue West
- Commerce Street/Railroad Street, Lake Place Drive, and Canal Park Dr.
- The northbound lanes of I-35 will close at 5:30 a.m. from Mesaba Avenue to 26th Avenue East. A detour will guide vehicles to 2nd Street to continue east.
- Northbound traffic on I-35 will be diverted up Mesaba Avenue to 2nd Street
- Westbound traffic on 1st St. will not be able to access Mesaba Avenue and will instead be diverted to Superior Street and I-35 at 6th Avenue West
Duluth Police expect Interstate 35 and most other roadways closed for the Marathon to reopen by approximately 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. With all the road closures and related detours in place, a big question is where can spectators park on Saturday.
Parking is obviously not allowed on any part of the race course. "No Parking" will be posted and all violators will be ticketed and towed.
There will be parking available near Canal Park and Downtown Duluth, which are two of the most popular locations to watch Grandma's Marathon and enjoy the festivities.
Canal Park Area Parking
Motorists wanting to park near Canal Park are encouraged to use the Bayfront Park Lots, the DECC, the Aquarium lot, or Downtown areas near Lake Avenue. Motorists wanting to reach the DECC or Bayfront area during the Marathon on Saturday must use either 5th Avenue West or Garfield Avenue to Railroad Street from 5:30 a.m. until the end of the Marathon. There will be no vehicle access to the DECC from Lake Avenue.
On-street and ramp parking will be available along Superior Street from 6th Avenue East to Lake Avenue and along 1st Street. Michigan Street, from 4th Avenue East to 5th Avenue West, will close to traffic during the Marathon. No on-street parking will be allowed on Michigan Street. Motorists who park in Michigan Street parking ramps before the road closure will not be able to exit the ramp until the Marathon ends Saturday
afternoon. Opportunities to view runners Downtown will exist on the avenues above Superior Street and at Lake Place Park.
Duluth Police advise all people in the area to be alert and be prepared to encounter high traffic volume and temporary delays throughout Grandma's Marathon weekend. Drivers in the Canal Park and DECC areas will encounter long delays Friday evening and Saturday. Please drive safely and watch for pedestrians.