Interstate 394 and 535 in Minnesota
Interstate 394 in Minnesota
Interstate 394 or I -394 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of Minnesota. The highway forms the western approach to Minneapolis and runs from Minnetonka to downtown Minneapolis. Interstate 394 is 15 kilometers long.
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I-394 at Downtown Minneapolis.
The interstate begins at an interchange where US 12 becomes I-394 at Interstate 494, which forms the Minneapolis ring road. The highway already has 2×4 lanes here and runs through the 51,000-inhabitant suburb of Minnetonka. You then reach the suburb of St. Louis Park where you cross the US 169, the highway from Bloomington in the south to Brooklyn Park in the north. This node is a simple cloverleaf. I-394 then continues east in 2×4 lanes through a commercial zone in Golden Valley. After this one crosses the State Route 100, a north-south highway from Bloomington to Brooklyn Center. After that, I-394 has a two- lane HOT lane with 2×3 lanes next to it, so that 5 lanes can be used per rush hour. One then reaches the city of Minneapolis itself and crosses Interstate 94. From the highway you have a good view of the skyline of the city. The motorway then forms a plug-in into the center with a decreasing number of lanes. Three parking garages are located on the highway with overpasses. Interstate 394 then ends at Washington Avenue.
I-394 has express lanes the entire length of I-494 to I-94. The portion east of State Route 100 is a 2-lane interchange, west of which are adjacent toll lanes, with 1 lane in each direction. Before 2005 these were HOV lanes. The toll lanes are fully electronic with MnPASS.
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Construction of I-394 was approved in the 1960s, but funding only became available when Interstate 335 was called off in the 1970s and money was funneled into building I-394. The construction was largely the reconstruction of US 12 to an Interstate Highway and took place mainly in the 1980s. The last section opened in 1991.
The highway has been handling quite a lot of traffic right from the start, about 101,000 vehicles a day. Towards the east, however, this increases only slowly because many employment opportunities are located directly along the road. Between State Route 100 and I-94, this has increased to 148,000 vehicles in 2×4 lanes. Only 29,000 vehicles use the plug-in to downtown, most traffic is on I-94.
Interstate 535 in Minnesota
Interstate 535 or I -535 is an Interstate Highway in the US states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The highway connects Superior in Wisconsin to Duluth in Minnesota. The highway is little more than a bridge over the western end of Lake Superior and is 3 miles long.
The John A. Blatnik Bridge.
I-535 begins at an interchange with I-35 in the south of Duluth, where US 53 also connects. The highway then has 2×2 lanes, passes a shunting yard and then crosses the St. Louis River via the John A. Blatnik Bridge, a large arch bridge. This bridge is located on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. On the Wisconsin side, I-535 terminates at Superior’s city grid. US 53 in Wisconsin then handles through traffic to the south.
The highway was approved in 1957 and incorporated into the Interstate Highway system. On December 2, 1961, the John A. Blatnik Bridge opened to traffic over Saint Louis Bay, on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. The interchange with I-35 opened to traffic in 1971.
There is an interchange with Interstate 35 in Duluth. This is called the ‘can of worms interchange’ because of its complex configuration. The interchange was reconstructed between 2021 and 2024, dubbed the Twin Ports Interchange Project at a cost of $343 million.