Grandma's Marathon weekend is again upon us, meaning thousands of people will be in the Northland to run, spectate, volunteer, and more.

There are many moving parts in a weekend of this magnitude and it's helpful to residents and visitors alike to know what to expect regarding the timing and location of road closures and parking recommendations.

To prepare everyone for the weekend and help everyone navigate the situation, the Duluth Police Department has released the official traffic advisory for the weekend.

2024 Grandma's Marathon Weekend Races

As is the case each year, three races are occurring in Duluth during the weekend. Here are the races and their start times:

  • WILLIAM A. IRVIN 5K: Friday, June 21st. Start at 6:00 p.m.
  • GARRY BJORKLUND HALF MARATHON: Saturday, June 22nd, General Start at 6:00 a.m. Duos/Adaptive Start at 5:50 a.m.
  • 48th ANNUAL GRANDMA'S MARATHON: Saturday, June 22nd. General Start at 7:45 a.m. Wheelchairs/Duos/Adaptive start at 7:35 a.m. Elite & Sub-EliteMen start at 7:40 a.m. Elite & Sub-Elite Women & Citizens start at 7:45 a.m.
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June 19 Traffic Advisory and Lot Closure

The traffic advisories start midweek. On Wednesday, June 19th there is a traffic advisory for Canal Park Drive On Wednesday as crews will be installing a temporary pedestrian bridge over Canal Park Drive, just south of Buchanan Street, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The road will remain open, but motorists should expect short delays during this time. Bridge construction will be completed on Thursday, June 20th, mid-afternoon. Traffic will be managed as needed by GM crews.

Also on Wednesday, the Lake City Lot will close for race set-up for the remainder of the week.

Grandma's Marathon 2022
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

June 21 Traffic Advisory

At 6:00 a.m. on Friday, June 21st, Canal Park Drive from Railroad Street to Buchanan Street will 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.

Traffic accessing locations south of Buchanan Street should use S Lake Avenue to Buchanan, not Canal Park Drive.

Canal Park Drive will remain closed to automobile traffic until after the Grandma's Marathon Finish late on Saturday, June 22nd.

June 21 Lot Closure

On Friday, June 21st, the Lighthouse Lot will close for race set-up through late Saturday.

William A. Irvin 5K Traffic Advisory

  • The William A. Irvin 5K begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 21. At 5:30 p.m., portions of Railroad Street will close to traffic for the duration of the race. Motorists are advised to 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 be closed from Lake Avenue to 5th Ave W. Southbound traffic on 5th Avenue West will be able to access the DECC parking lot via Railroad St. throughout the race. Harbor Drive behind the DECC will be closed to all traffic due to construction. Only race participants will be allowed to utilize the area.
  • 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 the Bayfront Park parking lots can only do so from the West between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Access To The DECC During The William A. Irvin 5K

  • During the entire race, the DECC will be accessible through the North Gate on Railroad Street. Access will be available through the East Gate on Harbor Drive until 5:15 p.m.
  • Starting at 4:00 PM, the East Gate will become inbound only for traffic from Railroad St, before closing completely from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

As for outbound traffic, people leaving the DECC can use the North and West Gates on Railroad Street, and the Parking Ramp exit, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  After 6:30 p.m. traffic will also be able to exit the DECC from the East Gate (5th Ave W).

Motorists are advised to watch for no parking signs, barricades, and officers directing traffic. Most traffic is expected to return to normal by 7:30 p.m.

Grandma's Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Traffic Advisory

Here are the traffic impacts for the big day.

Along The North Shore

  • 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. to allow for set-up to begin for the start of the half marathon.
  • All the access roads between MN-61 Expressway and Scenic Hwy 61, including Isackson Road, Salakka Rd, Central Ave, Alseth Road, Lakewood Rd, Homestead Road, Ryan Rd, and McQuade Road, will close at 4:15 a.m.
  • Starting at 4:15 a.m., motorists should slow down and be alert to special signing and lane closures on the Highway 61 Expressway just south of Two Harbors.
Grandma's Marathon 2022
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

As The Races Move Into Duluth

  • Most avenues leading to London Road will close at 4:30 a.m. Residents and spectators along London Road can use Superior Street and Jefferson Street to access the avenues above London Road for parking during the marathon. Spectators are encouraged to continue using the sides of London Road to watch the race.
  • Starting at 5:30 a.m., the following will close to traffic and will remain closed until the end of the marathon: All of London Road, Superior Street from 12th Avenue East to 5th Ave W., Michigan Street from 4th Avenue East to 5th Avenue W., Commerce Street/Railroad Street, Lake Place Drive, and Canal Park Drive.
  • The southbound lanes of I-35 from 21st and 26th Avenues East will close at 4:30 a.m.
  • 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 at 5:30 a.m.
  • Westbound traffic on 1st St. will not be able to access Mesaba Avenue and will instead be diverted to Superior St. and I-35 at 6th Ave. W. at 5:30 a.m.
  • Interstate 35 and most other roadways closed for the marathon will reopen by approximately 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Grandma's Marathon & Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon Parking

Parking is not allowed on any part of the race course. Please observe the posted "No Parking" signs. Violators will be ticketed and towed.

Canal Park Area Parking

Motorists wanting to park near Canal Park should use the Bayfront parking lots, the DECC parking lots and ramp, the Aquarium lot, or the downtown areas near Lake Avenue.

Motorists wanting to reach the DECC or Bayfront area during the marathon on Saturday must use either 5th Ave. W. 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.

Downtown Duluth Parking

There will be on-street and ramp parking available along 1st Street from Avenue East to Lake Avenue.

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.

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It's important to note that motorists who park in Michigan Street parking ramps before the road closure will not be able to exit the ramp until the Marathon ends on Saturday afternoon.

There will be opportunities to view the runners downtown on the avenues above Superior Street and Lake Place Park.

There will obviously be a lot of traffic and accessibility impacts throughout the weekend where races are taking place.

Police urge motorists in Duluth to be prepared to encounter high traffic volume and temporary delays throughout the marathon weekend.

Drivers in the Canal Park and DECC areas will encounter long delays on Friday evening and Saturday. Please be alert, be patient, and drive safely.

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