Minnesota Fantasy Freeways
The below list includes a description and a rough corridor outline for fictional freeway routes within the state of Minnesota. These routes are part of an idea of mine to compile cancelled freeways, the existing system, future proposals, plus some of my own ideas into the Ultimate Fantasy Freeway/Expressway System. This is a "working list" that I will draw upon for future "fantasy freeway" pages on this site.
Route shields framed in yellow are links to specific pages on those fantasy routes.
This was one of my first fantasy freeways, part of a corridor from Sioux City, IA to the Twin Cities. Within Minnesota, it follows the MN 60 corridor between Iowa and Mankato, then the US 169 corridor from Mankato to the Twin Cities area. There are several options for routing a fantasy I-33 into the Twin Cities. These pages are based on a terminus at the existing I-494/US 169 interchange in Bloomington.
This is an idea that I forwarded to Brandon Gorte several years ago, which he implemented into his own now-defunct Fictional Freeways pages. The idea was to extend I-35 to the Canadian border, but instead of following MN 61 along the North Shore of Lake Superior (and its generally unforgiving terrain), this fantasy I-35 instead follows the MN 33 corridor north from Cloquet, then follows US 53 north to International Falls along what is in real life a Congressional High Priority Corridor. Existing I-35 east of Cloquet then becomes I-535, as noted below.
This is my "ultimate upgrade" idea for I-35E through the Twin Cities metro area, including interchanges with the cancelled MN 5, MN 51, and US 61 freeways.
This is my "ultimate upgrade" idea for I-35W through the Twin Cities metro area, including interchanges with the cancelled MN 280, I-335, and MN 65 freeways.
or Several other roadgeeks in the past (including the above-mentioned Brandon Gorte) have suggested an I-98 along the US 2 corridor. I have also decided to include it here for my "fantasy system". In the absence of an Interstate designation, such a route would simply be a freeway-grade US 2.
or This was an idea of Brandon Gorte's, the premise being an Interstate spur of of Fantasy I-98 serving the Iron Range. It follows the US 169 corridor from Grand Rapids to Virginia.
or This fantasy freeway is actually a real-life proposal, a MnDOT long-term goal for a freeway along US 52 between I-90 near Rochester and I-94 at St. Paul. I have also considered calling this a fantasy I-290.
This fantasy freeway is a Duluth-Superior loop route, utilizing existing I-535/US 53 across the Blatnik Bridge.
This entry is based on the 1964-1978 proposal for a "North Loop" freeway north of downtown Minneapolis. I have resurrected it here as a fantasy 6-lane freeway connecting I-35W with I-94 and the Northwest Arterial.
As existing I-535 gets replaced by Fantasy I-98 (mentioned above), it frees up the 535 number for use elsewhere in my fantasy system. I use it to replace existing I-35 from Cloquet into Duluth, given the Fantasy I-35 realignment also mentioned above. I-535 would also be extended into East Duluth, following a path next to the railroad tracks and extending up to the start of the Two Harbors Expressway.
This is my idea for an Interstate loop around the Fargo-Moorhead area.
This fantasy freeway is one of my proposals for something that I think should happen in real life. The existing US 8 corridor through Chisago County is extremely congested, with well over 15,000 vehicles a day in several locations on only a 2-lane road. This fictional freeway begins at I-35, then departs the existing US 8 corridor near Greenway Ave in southern Wyoming Township, then takes a path south of the Chisago Lakes area, briefly crossing north of existing US 8 east of Shafer, then crossing the St. Croix River on a high bridge near where US 8 begins descending into the river valley on the Minnesota side. The fantasy freeway then passes south of St. Croix Falls, rejoining existing US 8 east of 220th St, then continues east along existing US 8 to WI 35 North.
Several US 10 freeway segments in my fantasy system:
#1: From my fantasy I-629 (mentioned above) east to MN 9.
#2: A Detroit Lakes bypass, north and east of the city, from near the Detroit Lakes airport around to Becker CSAH 53 on the east side of the lake.
#3: Existing freeway bypasses of Frazee and Perham are included.
#4: A Wadena bypass to the north of the city, from west of Otter Tail CSAH 75 to near Wadena CR 108.
#5: A Staples bypass to the north, from near Todd CSAH 55 to Hayden Creek.
#6: A Motley bypass to the west, from about a mile west of the Todd/Morrison County line to the Long Prairie River.
#7: A very lengthy segment of freeway from the Little Falls bypass all the way to I-35W, and is mostly proposed in real life (semi-official MnDOT proposals omit between Clear Lake and Becker and through Elk River). Presently the only freeway segments are the Little Falls bypass, the Sauk Rapids bypass, and from Anoka to I-35W. In my fantasy system, US 10 would become freeway along its existing corridor except in the following locations: a western bypass of Royalton, a southern bypass of Big Lake, and a freeway paralleling the BNSF rail line through Elk River.
#8: A freeway upgrade of the "cut-off" between I-35W and I-694. This is proposed in real life.
This fantasy freeway is partially based on proposals dating back to the 1950s for a freeway and/or expressway along the US 12 corridor west of Wayzata. My fantasy US 12 freeway begins just east of Montrose and is mostly on new alignment, generally south of existing US 12 and the towns it passes through. It rejoins the existing alignment just northwest of Hennepin CSAH 6, then follows the under-construction "Super-2" segment through Long Lake to the 6-lane Wayzata bypass.
This long fantasy freeway runs from west of New Ulm all the way to Rochester, and is based partly on MnDOT long-range goals for a US 14 freeway between Mankato and Rochester. The fantasy freeway includes a northern bypass of New Ulm (not officially planned), a northern bypass of Courtland (planned), a southern bypass of Nicollet (planned), the existing freeway through North Mankato and Mankato, a southern bypass of Janesville (completed in 2006), a southern bypass of Waseca (under construction in 2009), the existing bypass of Owatonna (planned upgrade to full freeway), a southern bypass of Claremont (proposed), and an upgrade of the existing 4-lane route from Dodge Center east to Rochester.
Besides the long duplex with Fantasy I-290 (mentioned above), there would be two other US 52 freeway segments in my fantasy system:
#1: Along the "Northwest Radial", from I-94/Fantasy I-335 in Minneapolis northwest to US 169, using existing Hennepin CSAH 81 between Robbinsdale and Osseo.
#2: Duplexed with Fantasy MN 610 between CSAH 81 and I-94.
This fantasy freeway upgrades US 53 to a freeway between the MN 194 East junction in Duluth and St Louis CSAH 13/Midway Rd west of Hermantown, and is based on early 1960s proposals for the corridor.
Four US 61 freeway segments in my fantasy system:
#1: Through Winona, generally from southeast of MN 43 to northwest of US 14 WEST.
#2: Freeway bypass of Lake City.
#3: From northwest of Frontenac northward, bypassing Red Wing to the south, then following parallel to and west of MN 316, then bypassing Hastings to the west, then following the existing US 61/10 freeway/expressway from Cottage Grove to I-94 in St. Paul.
#4: Based on a 1963 proposal for Ramsey County freeways, this one begins on I-35E near Larpentur Ave, then heads eastward, meeting existing US 61 near Roselawn Ave, then follows existing US 61 northeast to County Road E.
This is based on an real-life proposal, a long-range MnDOT goal of upgrading US 63 to freeway between I-90 and US 52 on the south side of Rochester.
Besides the long duplex with Fantasy I-33 (mentioned above), there are 3 other US 169 freeway segments in my fantasy system:
#1: Assuming the I-33 routing referenced above, continuing north along existing US 169 to Dowlin St in Champlin.
#2: From US 10 to the north side of Milaca.
#3: A Grand Rapids bypass on the east side, tying into Fantasy I-98.
Three US 212 freeway segments in my fantasy system:
#1: From US 59 NORTH/MN 7 to the southeast side of Montevideo.
#2: A Granite Falls bypass on the south side, from MN 67 WEST to MN 23 EAST.
#3: From MN 15 east into the Twin Cities, then continuing east duplexed with MN 62 to end at I-35W.
My idea for a 4-lane MN 3 corridor between Faribault and Inver Grove Heights includes a freeway segment between Dakota CSAH 32/Cliff Rd and the US 52/MN 55 interchange.
Three fantasy MN 5 freeways under my fantasy system:
#1: A short spur in Eden Prairie, from Dell Rd to the tie-in with Future US 212.
#2: An extension of the existing freeway spur that runs near Minneapolis/St Paul Int'l Airport, extending it northeast along the W 7th St corridor in St. Paul to I-35E. This is based on a 1963 plan for freeways in St. Paul.
#3: As part of the 1950s-proposed and 1970s-cancelled "Northeast Corridor" from downtown St Paul, a freeway running from just east of I-35E at Pennsylvania Ave eastward to the existing MN 5/Granada Ave N intersection in Oakdale. One notable difference between my Fantasy MN 5 and the 1958-era proposal is that I utilize pat of the brand-new Phalen Blvd corridor for my fantasy routing. The 1958 proposal had then-MN 212 (now MN 5) running south of the railroad through existing neighborhoods between DeSoto St and Hazelwood St.
Five MN 7 freeway segments under my fantasy system:
#1: An Appleton bypass, from west of town around the north and east sides to near Swift CR 52.
#2: A short segment in Montevideo west of US 212.
#3: A Hutchinson bypass, from northwest of McLeod CSAH 14 around the north side of Hutchinson to the eastern MN 7/MN 22 intersection.
#4: Although part of the fantasy expressway-grade MN 7 between Hutchinson and MN 41, the segment between Highland Rd (just east of St. Bonifacius) and Zumbrota Dr in Victoria would effectively function as a freeway.
#5: A long freeway radial going into Minneapolis. This one would begin west of MN 41 and follow existing MN 7 to MN 100. East of MN 100, it would follow CSAH 25 to Lake St, then follow the cancelled "Southwest Radial" corridor northeast between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles, ending at I-394 just west of I-94.
Two MN 15 freeway segments under my fantasy system, as part of an overall 4-lane corridor from I-90 to US 10:
#1: A Hutchinson bypass, from south of Hutchinson airport around the east side of the city to north of the city.
#2: A freeway upgrade of existing MN 15 between I-94 and US 10. This was part of the original proposal for MN 15 through St Cloud but was opposed by the city, resulting in today's urban expressway configuration.
A short MN 22 freeway segment would existing in my fantasy system on the east side of Mankato, from MN 83 north to US 14.
Four MN 23 freeway segments under my fantasy system, as part of an overall 4-lane corridor from I-90 to I-35:
#1: A freeway upgrade of the Marshall bypass, from Lyon CSAH 7 to Lyon CSAH 33. An interchange at CSAH 7 is proposed in real life.
#2: A freeway-grade facility utilizing the Willmar bypass, from west of Kandiyohi CSAH 5 to the south edge of Spicer.
#3: The proposed Paynesville bypass, from the Kandiyohi/Stearns County line to near Stearns CR 123.
#4: A freeway upgrade of existing MN 23 from west of Rockville to I-94.
This fantasy freeway meets MnDOT's long-range goal of a MN 36 freeway from I-35 all the way to Wisconsin (and continuing in my fantasy system as a WI 64 freeway).
This fantasy freeway is based on early 1970s plans for a freeway-grade MN 41 through Chaska and Chanhassan, from US 169 north to MN 7.
This idea extends the short real-life MN 47 freeway segment in Coon Rapids southward for about a mile.
This fantasy freeway is based on a 1963 plan for freeways in St. Paul. It begins at I-35E and Ayd Mill Rd, then follows Ayd Mill Rd northwest, connecting back to existing MN 51/Snelling Ave just south of I-94. It then continues north along existing MN 51 to I-694/US 10. MN 51 continues as a fantasy expressway north to I-35W in Lino Lakes.
Two segments of MN 55 freeway in my fantasy system:
#1: From Hennepin CSAH 19 to I-94, along existing MN 55.
#2: From I-94 southeast to US 52, following the 1970s concept of a freeway briefly paralleling I-494 before turning south.
Based on the original Hennepin County plans for the "Crosstown Highway", this fantasy freeway begins at the MN 7/CSAH 101 intersection, as then-CSAH 62 was planned to. Fantasy MN 62 heads south, then southeast and curves to meet existing CSAH 62 near Scenic Heights Dr. It then follows existing CSAH 62/MN 62 east to MN 55.
This long fantasy freeway is based partly on an early 1960s freeway proposal. It begins at the I-35W/Johnson St interchange in northeast Minneapolis and heads northward, generally paralleling existing MN 65/Central Ave to the east between Lowry Ave and about 49th Ave NE. It rejoins existing MN 65 at 49th Ave NE, then follows existing MN 65 to the north side of Cambridge.
Lengthy extensions of this freeway are part of my fantasy system. My fantasy MN 77 freeway begins at Dakota CSAH 46 on the Lakeville/Apple Valley line, then extends north along CSAH 23/Cedar Ave, incorporating the existing MN 77 freeway. North of MN 62, it follows a 1950s/60s-era proposal for a freeway along the Cedar Ave corridor, ending at I-94 just east of the 20th Ave overpass.
As is proposed in real life, MN 101 would become a freeway between I-94 and US 10/US 169 in my fantasy system.
This short fantasy spur is based on a 1963 St. Paul plan. It would connect to my Fantasy MN 361 (mentioned below) underneath today's Science Museum, then cross the Mississippi River to connect to Fantasy MN 13 (Plato Blvd).
This fantasy freeway is an extension of my Fantasy I-33 mentioned above, and follows Hidden MN 801 and existing MN 13 between existing US 169/Fantasy I-33 and MN 77.
This fantasy freeway is based on rumors that Dakota County and the Metropolitan Council briefly considered a freeway-grade facility along CSAH 42. Starting at US 169 at the east end of the Shakopee Bypass, this fantasy route heads south parallel to Scott CSAH 18, then turns east and joins Scott CSAH 42 just east of CSAH 18. It then follows Scott/Dakota CSAH 42 all the way to MN 55, then follows MN 55 before turning onto the southern leg of a Hastings bypass and ending at Fantasy US 61 on the Hastings bypass.
This fantasy freeway is based on a ca. 1968 proposal for what eventually became 37th Ave NW/E Circle Dr in Rochester. It's a freeway-grade facility running between US 52 and US 63.
This fantasy freeway is also based on a real-life proposal, a long-term MnDOT goal to upgrade MN 252 to freeway.
This fantasy freeway is based on a late 1950s proposal for a "28th Street Expressway" across south Minneapolis, tying into existing MN 280 north of I-94 and continuing as a freeway to I-35W. Though the proposal survived into the 1960s, the earlier proposals included an interchange at I-35W, and this interchange proposal has been incorporated into my fantasy freeway here.
This is my idea for an east-west freeway through central Dakota County, serving the fast growing areas around Lakeville and Farmington. Beginning on I-35 just north of the Scott/Dakota County line, it heads eastward, bypassing Lakeville and Farmington to the south. East of MN 3, it turns northeastward and continues to end at Fantasy US 61/Fantasy MN 142 on the southwest side of Hastings.
This fantasy freeway is based on a 1963 proposal for a freeway/parkway loop around the south side of downtown St. Paul, hugging the north side of the Mississippi, then continuing east out Warner Rd to US 61/US 10. My fantasy MN 361 is slightly modified from the original proposal, using the 5th St ramps to/from I-94 West, adding a connection to I-35E South, and tunneling under the west edge of Xcel Centre and the new Science Museum before joining Shepard Rd just west of the Wabasha St bridge.
This lengthy fantasy freeway would follow the MN 371 corridor from US 10 to the north side of Pine River, with bypasses of Pequot Lakes (east), Jenkins (west), and Pine River (west)
This fantasy freeway is based on the ca. 2003 studies for a "Northwest Metro River Crossing", a new north-south corridor connecting I-94 to US 10 and sitting between MN 101 and the US 169 crossing at Anoka.
This is my route number for the planned "I-94/US 10 Connector", a planned 4-lane freeway from I-94 southeast of Clearwater to US 10 northwest of Clear Lake.
This is my fantasy extension of MN 610 to the west and southwest, down to MN 7 near St. Bonifacius. Although predominately an expressway west of I-94 in my fantasy system, the following segments would function as freeway under my system:
#1: Pioneer Creek Rd to CSAH 11 in Independence.
#2: 97th Ave N in Maple Grove to US 10 in Blaine.
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Related Site: Cancelled Twin Cities Highways - More "fictional exit lists" here, detailing those highways in the Twin Cities that were cancelled or otherwise reduced in scope.
Related Site: Froggie's Minnesota Corridors - Includes "fictional exit lists" for my proposed outstate Minnesota major corridors.
Page last modified 11 February, 2006