Ultimate Twin Cities Freeway/Expressway System

The following documents my ideas on what could and should be done to improve and expand the Twin Cities freeway/expressway system.  (NOTE:  these opinions are my own and DO NOT reflect those of the Minnesota Department of Transportation)

Freeway Lanes and Freeways

After a period of significant expansion, improving the freeway system in the Twin Cities has leveled off since the early '80s. Unfortunately, as the Twin Cities area has grown, traffic levels have increased significantly, and much of the system experiences congestion, some of it severe congestion.  The Twin Cities, MnDOT, and the state are 15 years behind the 8-ball as far as improving the transportation system in the Twin Cities, and there is much that needs to be done. This page documents the highway system improvements I recommend.

Although transit has the potential to divert some vehicle trips in some corridors and will provide an alternate choice, much of the freeway system is to the point where significant expansion is still needed. Some sections of the system require major expansion, far beyond what MnDOT or the Metropolitan Council are currently considering.

The following table lists various sections of the metro area's Interstate and Trunk Highway systems, my recommended investment level, and what MnDOT is currently planning.  Investment levels fall under six categories:

      - Preservation:  Those projects necessary to maintain the highway system.  Primarily includes pavement resurfacing or replacement, bridge repair or replacement, and signage/light/signal/guardrail replacement.

      - Management:  Those projects necessary to effectively manage traffic, or improve traffic conditions.  Includes Transportation System Management (TSM) strategies, access management, jurisdictional reassignment, travel demand management (TDM) strategies, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), and corridor preservation.  Includes Preservation-level strategies.

      - Improvement:  Those projects necessary to upgrade a highway corridor.  Generally involves reconstruction, geometric improvements, and interchange upgrades.  Auxiliary lanes are sometimes included, but significant capacity increases are not.  Includes Management-level strategies.

      - Expansion:  Defined here as one of three types of project: adding one through lane in each direction, upgrading an existing expressway to a freeway (but keeping the same number of lanes), or constructing a new expressway or freeway on new alignment.  Includes Improvement-level strategies.

      - Major Expansion:  This is one of my own categories, defined here as adding two or more through lanes in each direction, or upgrading an existing expressway to a freeway AND adding additional lanes in the process.  Includes Improvement-level strategies.

      - IRC:  This corridor has been identified by MnDOT as an Interregional Corridor (IRC).  IRC Corridors will be improved pursuant to the corridor's management plan and funding availability.  Any of the other five investment levels may apply to a specific section of an IRC Corridor.  I have added the likely investment level to each IRC Corridor.

I-35 MN 19 to Dakota CSAH 70 Management IRC (likely Management)
I-35 Dakota CSAH 70 to I-35W/35E in Burnsville Expansion IRC (likely Improvement south of Dakota CSAH 5/50, Management north)
I-35 I-35W/35E near Centerville to MN 95 Expansion IRC (likely Management, with Improvement in Forest Lake)
I-35E I-35/35W in Burnsville to Dakota CR 11 Management IRC (likely Management)
I-35E Dakota CR 11 to MN 77 Expansion IRC (likely Management)
I-35E MN 77 to I-494 Management IRC (likely Management)
I-35E I-494 to MN 110 Management Management
I-35E MN 110 to MN 5 Expansion Expansion
I-35E MN 5 to I-94 Expansion
Note 1
I-35E I-94 to MN 36 Major Expansion Expansion
I-35E MN 36 to I-694 West Expansion Expansion
I-35E I-694 Duplex Major Expansion Major Expansion
I-35E I-694 East to Ramsey CSAH 96 Expansion IRC (likely Management)
I-35E Ramsey CSAH 96 to I-35/35W near Centerville Management IRC (likely Management)
I-35W I-35/35E in Burnsville to Dakota CSAH 42 Expansion IRC (likely Management)
I-35W Dakota CSAH 42 to MN 13 Major Expansion IRC (likely Improvement)
I-35W MN 13 to Hennepin CSAH 1 Expansion IRC (likely Management)
I-35W Hennepin CSAH 1 to I-494 Major Expansion
Note 2
IRC (likely Management)
I-35W I-494 to Hennepin CSAH 53 Expansion
Note 2
I-35W Hennepin CSAH 53 to MN 62 East (Crosstown Commons) Major Expansion Major Expansion
I-35W MN 62 East to 46th St Major Expansion Expansion
I-35W 46th St to MN 65 Expansion
Note 2
Improvement.  Expansion possible.
I-35W MN 65 to MN 55 (I-35W/I-94 "Spaghetti Junction") Major Expansion
Note 2
I-35W MN 55 to I-694 Expansion Expansion to MN 36, Improvement MN 36 to I-694
I-35W I-694 to Anoka CSAH 17 Expansion IRC (likely Improvement south of Lake Dr, Management north)
I-35W Anoka CSAH 17 to I-35/35E near Centerville Management IRC (likely Management)
I-94 MN 24 to MN 25 Expansion IRC (Expansion preferred, Management likely)
I-94 MN 25 to MN 101 Major Expansion IRC (Major Expansion preferred, Expansion likely)
I-94 MN 101 to Future MN 610 Major Expansion IRC (Major Expansion preferred, Management likely)
I-94 Future MN 610 to I-494 in Maple Grove Expansion IRC (Major Expansion preferred, Management likely)
I-94/694 I-494 to near Zane Ave Major Expansion Expansion
I-94/694 Near Zane Ave to I-94/694 split Expansion Management
I-94 I-94/694 split to MN 55/Olson Hwy Management Management
I-94 MN 55/Olson Hwy to I-394/US 12 Improvement SB/Management NB Management
I-94 I-394/US 12 to I-35W South Expansion
Note 3
I-94 I-35W North to MN 280 Major Expansion
Note 2
I-94 MN 280 to 5th/10th Sts Expansion
Note 2
I-94 5th/10th Sts to I-35E North Management Management
I-94 I-35E North to US 52 Improvement Management
I-94 US 52 to US 61/10 South Management Management
I-94 US 61/10 South to MN 120 Expansion Expansion east of McKnight Rd, Management west
I-94 MN 120 to I-494/694 Management Management
I-94 I-494/694 to Washington CSAH 19 Expansion IRC (likely Management)
I-94 Washington CSAH 19 to WI 35 Management IRC (likely Management)
I-394 US 169 to MN 100 Expansion Management
I-494 I-94/694 in Woodbury to US 61/10 Expansion Management
I-494 US 61/10 to Hardeman Ave Major Expansion Major Expansion
I-494 Hardeman Ave to MN 156 Improvement Improvement
I-494 MN 156 to I-35E Management Management
I-494 I-35E to MN 77 Expansion Management
I-494 MN 77 to MN 5 West/US 212 Major Expansion Expansion
I-494 MN 5 West/US 212 to MN 7 Expansion Expansion
I-494 MN 7 to Carlson Pkwy Major Expansion Expansion
I-494 Carlson Pkwy to I-94/694 in Maple Grove Expansion Expansion
I-694 I-94/694 split to US 10 West Expansion Management west of I-35W, Expansion east
I-694 US 10 West to I-35E South Major Expansion Expansion
I-694 I-35E North to I-94/494 in Woodbury Expansion Expansion west of MN 36, Management south

Table notes
1 - I'd keep the existing parkway config north of MN 5, but it really needs a 3rd lane each direction through there.

2 - ROW will be expensive.  NIMBYism also possible.
3 - Would require either a major rebuild or a new Lowry Hill tunnel, which would be basically impossible given current fiscal/political atmosphere.

Click here to go to the non-Interstates.
Click here to go to a map of my suggested changes.
Click here to go to interchange upgrade ideas.
Return to Twin Cites Highways

Page last modified 31 May, 2004