Surly Gets Surly About Traffic Congestion

Surly Brewing Company sends out periodic emails about product launches, etc. Today’s email included an entertaining rant about traffic congestion in the Twin Cities. First Surly’s email, then a few comments:


Road construction.

The two words that make Minnesotans cringe the most, even more than “Gary Anderson” or “last slice”.

It impacts all of us, even non-drivers. There is a road just south of University in Minneapolis that, due to a new apartment building, is down to about half of one lane, but is STILL OPEN TO TWO-WAY TRAFFIC. It’s also open to bikers and pedestrians. It’s basically the next Road Warrior movie.

This is just one of the many routes to our Destination Brewery that is impacted by road work, which we all realize is necessary and which we all are going to complain about anyway. It’s our nature. It’s our birthright.

Here, then, are some things to keep in mind for your next trip to Surly or a place where you can drink a cold can of Furious by a body of water/campfire/weird relatives you see once a year who you think might be stealing money from your purse.

* FOR GOD’S SAKE, TAKE THE TRAIN OR A BIKE: The Green Line goes right past the brewery. There’s a bike trail, too. This may not help you if you’re coming from Ortonville, but locals: You can do this. We believe in you.


* 35W/280: All the trucks that can’t take the Lowry Tunnel are being diverted here. So, it’s like regular traffic, but with MORE TRUCKS. And who doesn’t like that?

* NICOLLET MALL: Wooooooooooooooooof. Yes, this isn’t really on the way to the brewery, but you can’t do a construction post without mentioning the Nicollet Mall. It’s been under construction since the Carter Administration but the signage promises it’ll be done “soon”, which could be anywhere from this fall to the heat death of the universe.

* 169: Apparently this road is closed forever? That’s a bummer. We liked 169. The Gateway to Milaca, we called it. Anyway, use alternate routes, Hopkins.

* BROOKLYN CENTER SHARES THE PAIN: Our production brewery in the ‘burbs has not been spared either. There’s a whole mess around 694/100/Shingle Creek Parkway that makes getting to Surly’s ancestral home a chore. It looks like it’ll all be wrapped up in time for Darkness Day, but keep that tab open.

* EVERY PLACE YOU WANT TO GO FOR A WEEKEND IN OUTSTATE MINNESOTA OR WISCONSIN: Lake cabin? Hometown? North Shore? Dells? Sorry folks! Road’s closed. Man in the orange vest out front shoulda told ya. The truck drivers who distribute Surly in these locations are heroes and should be treated as such.

* DETOURS: The outstate detours will have at least one gravel road (bad), one ramshackle lean-to at the end of a farmer’s driveway selling fresh sweet corn (good), and one of those abandoned towns from The X-Files where there are Things That Should Not Be. Probably chupacabras. Make some room in the cooler for holy water is our advice.

Thankfully, once this is all done, it’ll start snowing.

Very funny. Of course, the Surly folks are brewers–really good ones!–not transportation experts. So they share the common assumption that the reason the Twin Cities have horrible traffic congestion during the Summer comes down to construction. Unfortunately, the problem goes deeper than that. Construction makes congestion worse, sure. But the underlying reality is that the Twin Cities’ highway and road system is inadequate, and the responsible agencies, the Met Council and MNDoT, AREN’T EVEN TRYING to reduce congestion. In many instances, they are actually reducing the number of lanes available to vehicles, thus making congestion worse. This is why the Twin Cities have more of the nation’s worst bottlenecks than New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, and why the Twin Cities are among the nation’s most congested metropolitan areas–year round, not just during construction season.

You can read all about it at

Meanwhile, is it 5:00 yet? It’s just about time for a Surly #Merica!