A construction worker’s photo of the egg discovered during work on the Lowry Hill Tunnel.
A monstrous, crystalline egg was discovered this evening by MnDOT construction crews working on repairs to I-94 in Minneapolis. The giant orb was uncovered during scheduled work on the Lowry Hill Tunnel near the Walker Art Museum when construction equipment pierced the tunnel wall, revealing a large underground cavern. Although a detailed analysis was not available at press time, the discovery is not expected to improve the traffic congestion generated by the I-94 repairs.
Area motorists reacted negatively to the news. “Oh, for cute,” said Ava Anderson, a Golden Valley resident. “I take that tunnel every day to work and back.” Others were less stoic. “A giant egg?!?” exclaimed Bjorn Gundersson, a Wayzata resident who was trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic in front of the tunnel when the discovery was made. “Really? They didn’t know about that from when they built this tunnel in the first place?”
At the time of the discovery, construction work was already routing I-94 traffic passing through the Lowry Hill Tunnel via just one side of the tunnel. As the Star Tribune‘s Tim Harlow noted in February, “It’s going to be bad. Very, very bad.” How bad remains to be seen; the previously predicted 3-month process will likely be delayed by the need for a comprehensive structural inspection, updated environmental impact report, and any studies of the egg itself and the cavern of glowing crystals around it.
An MnDOT employee, speaking on conditions of anonymity, attributed the discovery to unusually warm temperatures this winter. “A lot of people don’t know this,” he said, “But Minnesota actually has its own, deep-down permafrost that never really melts. This winter’s been the warmest in living memory…almost no snow, and not even the lakes getting in a real good freeze. The dirt next to the tunnel wall was likely frozen when they built the thing, and has only now defrosted. When frozen ground melts on a large scale, it just subsides and collapses. Alaska’s been dealing with this for years, but here in Minnesota it’s usually colder than that.”