“To the residents of Minneapolis, the local businesses, and all Minnesotans who travel on I-35W and I-94, we want to say thank you for [your] patience,” said MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “From better pedestrian bridges and improved transit options to new E-ZPass lanes, new ramps, and rebuilt bridges, this work will benefit everyone who lives, walks, bikes, uses transit, or drives in the area — and with the help of our partners, this project finished on time and on budget.”
The four-year, $239-million project included partnerships with Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis, and the Metropolitan Council.
Crews rebuilt 2.5 miles of freeway between 43rd Street and I-94; rebuilt and repaired bridges; added access from southbound I-35W to a rebuilt Lake Street; and added a ramp from northbound I-35W to 28th Street. They also rebuilt the ramp from I-35W north to I-94 west, including a dedicated lane for motorists seeking to continue through the Lowry Tunnel.
Metro Transit built a transit station at 31st and Lake streets that is a centerpiece of the Orange Line bus service that launches later this year. A southbound E-ZPass lane has been added for vehicles with at least two occupants, motorcyclists, and single-occupancy vehicles willing to pay for a more efficient drive during peak hours.
Walkers and bikers have improved paths and bridges, and the Green Crescent provides walking and biking access from Midtown Greenway and Lake Street. Crews also replaced aging bridges at 26th Street, 38th Street, and Franklin Avenue.
This marks the end of a process that started with planning two decades ago and involved input from many organizations, groups, and neighborhoods. Ames, Lunda, and Shafer served as the contractors in a joint partnership.