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Interstate 35W (Minnesota)

Interstate 35W marker

Interstate 35W
Interstate 35W highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Mn/DOT
Length: 41.778 mi[1] (67.235 km)
Major junctions
South end: I-35 / I-35E in Burnsville
  I-494 in Bloomington , Richfield
MN 62 in Richfield , Minneapolis
I-94 in Minneapolis
MN 36 / MN 280 in Roseville
I-694 in New Brighton , Arden Hills
US 10 in Mounds View
North end: I-35 / I-35E in Columbus,
near Forest Lake
Counties: Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka
Highway system
  • Minnesota Trunk Highways
I-35E MN 36

Interstate 35W (I-35W) is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Minnesota, passing through downtown Minneapolis. It is one of two through routes for Interstate 35 through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the other being Interstate 35E through downtown Saint Paul. I-35 splits into two branch routes: I-35W, which serves Minneapolis, and I-35E, which serves Saint Paul.

Traveling north, I-35 splits at Burnsville, and the I-35W route runs north for 41 miles, carrying its own separate sequence of exit numbers. It runs through the city of Minneapolis before rejoining with I-35E to re-form I-35 in Columbus near Forest Lake. I-35W supplanted sections of old U.S. Highway 8 northeast of Minneapolis and old U.S. Highway 65 south of Minneapolis that have since been removed from the U.S. highway system.

During the early years of the Interstate Highway System, branching Interstates with directional suffixes such as N, S, E, and W were common nationwide. On every other interstate nationwide, these directional suffixes have been phased out by re-designating the suffixed route numbers with a loop or spur route number designation. In the case of I-35 in the Twin Cities area, since neither branch is clearly the main route and both branches return to a unified interstate beyond the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the AASHTO officials have allowed the suffixes of E and W in Minnesota to remain in the present day. A similar split on I-35 continues to exist in Texas at Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, for similar reasons as the I-35 split in the Minneapolis - Saint Paul area.


  • Route description 1
  • History 2
    • Flooding 2.1
    • Minnesota River crossing 2.2
    • Mississippi River crossing 2.3
    • I-35W and Highway 62 Crosstown Commons reconstruction project 2.4
  • Future 3
    • Access Project 3.1
    • Interstate 35W Bus Rapid Transitway 3.2
  • Exit list 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Route description

I-35W approaching downtown Minneapolis from the south.

The southern terminus of I-35W is at Burnsville, where I-35 splits into I-35E and I-35W. While I-35E takes a northeasterly path into Saint Paul, I-35W heads north into Minneapolis. I-35W maintains a northbound direction in Burnsville with two lanes and adds a third lane at Burnsville Parkway. It then crosses the Minnesota River into Bloomington. At the Bloomington / Richfield city boundary, I-35W has a cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 494. I-35W continues northbound into Richfield, where it turns east and joins with Minnesota route 62 for about 1/4 mile in what is locally known as the Crosstown Commons. I-35W and Highway 62 split as two lanes of I-35W turn northbound toward downtown Minneapolis, where it adds back a third lane and then later a fourth and a fifth lane at the 46th Street on-ramp.

I-35W swerves slightly northeast immediately south of downtown to avoid the Washburn-Fair Oaks Mansion District. Three lanes then split north onto Old Highway 65, which exits into downtown. The two right-hand lanes of I-35W curve a sharp right east where it runs side by side with Interstate 94 for less than a mile, allowing drivers to exchange highways. Here, the interchange with Interstate 94 doesn't have direct access for southbound I-35W to eastbound I-94 or westbound I-94 to northbound I-35W. Drivers must use the Cedar and Washington Avenue exits to make these connections.

I-35W completes its eastern loop around downtown, and then crosses the Mississippi River on the new St. Anthony Falls bridge and winds northeast out of Northeast Minneapolis. Here, I-35W passes through industrial areas near the suburbs of St. Anthony, Lauderdale, Roseville, and Arden Hills.

Interstate 35W then meets Interstate 694 in New Brighton and Arden Hills at a cloverleaf interchange. U.S. Highway 10 joins I-35W one mile (1.6 km) north of the I-35W / I-694 interchange. I-35W and U.S. 10 run concurrently for another mile before the latter turns westward at Mounds View and Shoreview. I-35W passes next to the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant and again turns northeastward through the suburbs of Blaine and Lino Lakes. The communities of Lexington and Circle Pines are also nearby throughout this stretch. I-35W then merges with I-35E to re-form I-35 at Columbus near Forest Lake.

Interstate 35W carries its own set of exit numbers in the Twin Cities area, while Interstate 35E continues the Interstate 35 exit numbering scheme which goes between the Iowa state line and the city of Duluth.

Access between Interstate 35W and Interstate 35E in the Twin Cities area is done via circulator Interstate highways 494, 94, and 694; though many trunk and county highways, especially near the two downtown cores offer direct access between the two.

Legally, the route of Interstate 35W is defined as part of unmarked Legislative Route 394 in the Minnesota Statutes § 161.12(2),[2] Interstate 35W is not marked with this legislative number along the actual highway.



Interstate 35W is prone to heavy-rain event flooding in several areas, intersecting both natural habitats including the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge between Burnsville and Bloomington; and the dense urban areas through the city of Minneapolis (see Twin Cities climate). In the great 1965 Minnesota River flood, the highway was under water in the flood plain wetlands south of the Minnesota River bridge at Burnsville.[3][4] Dikes have been constructed and the highway road has been raised since then.[5] The storm sewer system under I-35W in the urban core of south Minneapolis has also been cited as a place prone to flash floods during rain events. Improvements continue to be made to this area as part of future projects.[6][7]

Minnesota River crossing

When the Minnesota River bridge between Burnsville and Bloomington was completed in 1960 it was two-lanes in each direction. I-35W at the time only extended as far south as State Highway 13 in Burnsville. Improvements were made in 1984 to redeck and widen the bridge but subsoil problems found at the north end resulted in the new lanes being temporarily closed. In 1989, the lanes were opened as HOV when the Minnesota Department of Transportation expanded the north approach to carry the additional traffic.[8][8][9]

Mississippi River crossing

On Wednesday, August 1, 2007, the Interstate 35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, collapsed into the Mississippi River around 6:05pm CDT. The metal arch bridge had a length of approximately 1,900 feet (580 m) and a roadway height of over 100 feet (30 m) above the river. The bridge connected Minneapolis southwest of the Mississippi River to the Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood and served residents in the northern suburbs of the metro area.[10][11][12] Due to the collapse of the I-35W Bridge, I-35W traffic was temporarily detoured through eastbound Interstate 94 to northbound State Highway 280 where it meets up with I-35W in Roseville.

The replacement Interstate 35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge was built in less than a year and opened to traffic on September 18, 2008 at 5:00am CDT, three months ahead of schedule.[13][14][15]

I-35W and Highway 62 Crosstown Commons reconstruction project

A pre-construction photo of the Crosstown Commons junction. The two left lanes are Interstate 35W northbound, while State Highway 62 enters via the ramp on the right.

The Crosstown Commons is one of the most congested traffic interchanges in Minnesota. While it is sometimes referred to as an intersection, it is a one-mile (1.6 km) merger or concurrency of Interstate 35W and State Highway 62. The layout is not a typical intersection: there is only a single level of roadbed and it creates a dogleg in Interstate 35W. This shared right-of-way "intersection" for Interstate 35W and State Highway 62 has been a topic of political debate for many years. There are only six lanes on the commons and all drivers merging from one highway to the other are required to change at least one lane as they merge and then diverge again. The name comes from the fact that Highway 62 is also known locally as the Crosstown Highway.

The project to improve the interchange began in May 2007, after bids were received in April 2007. The new interchange features three through-lanes for Interstate 35W in both directions, ending at 42nd Street, and two separate through-lanes for Highway 62 in each direction, eliminating the need to weave across traffic. The cost of correcting the deficiencies in that short stretch of highway was estimated to be $285 million.[16][17]

In 2004, the City of Minneapolis threatened to withhold municipal consent for the project unless new bus lanes and bus stations were included.[18] Lake Street currently has a bus station at grade with Interstate 35W on both sides. Eventually the project was altered to include the desired additional bus access. The bid was won by the Ames, Lunda, and Schafer consortium for the 2007 cost of $288 million. The project included 25 new bridges, 63 lane-miles of highway, and expanded the total roadway width from 6 lanes to 12 lanes at Lyndale Avenue. The bridges were cast in Coates, Minnesota and trucked in for on-site erection. The new design includes transit / HOV lanes and was completed in November 2010.[19]


Access Project

The Interstate 35W Access Project proposes to add and reconfigure ramps roughly from Franklin Avenue to 45th Street in south Minneapolis. Some proposed changes include relocating the 35th / 36th Street ramps to 38th Street, adding new ramps at Lake Street, adding a northbound exit to 28th Street and reconstruct or widen roads to accommodate new ramps. For example, at Lake Street, there is only one off-ramp which comes from the south and an on-ramp going south. Federal funding was appropriated[20] but the project has been controversial.[21]

Interstate 35W Bus Rapid Transitway

The proposed METRO Orange Line bus rapid transitway would run from the southern suburb of Lakeville to downtown Minneapolis on I-35W, passing through Burnsville, Bloomington, and Richfield.[22][23] Current plans call for a center high-occupancy toll lane or price-dynamic shoulder lane, for the exclusive use of buses, high-occupancy vehicles, and drivers willing to pay the dynamically priced toll, running from Lakeville to downtown Minneapolis.[24][25]

Exit list

County Location mi[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
Dakota Burnsville 0.000 0.000 I-35 south Southbound exit and northbound entrance; I-35 north exit 88A
0.603 0.970 1 County 42 (Crystal Lake Road) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
2.328 3.747 2 Burnsville Parkway
3 MN 13 – Shakopee Signed as exits 3A (north) and 3B (south)
4A Cliff Road (CR 5, CR 32)
4B Black Dog Road
Hennepin Bloomington 5.225–
5 106th Street
6.236 10.036 6 County 1 (98th Street)
6.766 10.889 7A 94th Street
7.299 11.747 7B 90th Street
8.294 13.348 8 82nd Street
BloomingtonRichfield city line 8.747–
9 I-494 / MN 5 Signed as exits 9A (east) and 9B (west); I-494 exits 5A-B
Richfield 9.008 14.497 9C 76th Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
10A County 53 (66th Street)
10B MN 62 west / 58th Street (MN 121 north) South end of MN 62 overlap
11A Lyndale Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance
11.532 18.559 11B MN 62 east North end of MN 62 overlap
Minneapolis 11.867–
12A 60th Street Southbound exit and northbound entrance
12.518 20.146 12B Diamond Lake Road
13.632 21.939 13 46th Street (CR 46)
14 35th Street, 36th Street
15 31st Street, Lake Street (CR 3) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
16A I-94 west / Downtown exits Northbound exit and southbound entrance; old MN 65
17.400 28.003 16B I-94 east – St. Paul Northbound exit and southbound entrance
17A MN 55 east (Hiawatha Avenue) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
17.378 27.967 I-94 west / 11th Avenue Southbound exit and northbound entrance
17C 3rd Street (CR 122), Washington Avenue (CR 152) – University of Minnesota East Bank, West Bank
St. Anthony Falls Bridge over the Mississippi River
18 County 36 (University Avenue) / 4th Street Southeast
19.564 31.485 19 East Hennepin Avenue (CR 52) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
21A County 27 (Stinson Boulevard) / County 88 (New Brighton Boulevard)
19.641 31.609 21B Johnson Street Northbound exit and southbound entrance
22 To MN 280 / Industrial Boulevard, St. Anthony Boulevard
Ramsey Roseville 21.955–
23A MN 280 Southbound exit and northbound entrance
23B MN 36 / Cleveland Avenue (CR 46)
24 CR C (CR 23), Cleveland Avenue (CR 46)
RosevilleNew Brighton city line 24.578 39.554 25A CR D (CR 19)
New Brighton 24.920 40.105 25B County 88 Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Arden HillsNew Brighton city line 26.090 41.988 26 CR E2 (CR 46, CR 73)
27 I-694 Signed as exits 27A (east) and 27B (west); I-694 exits 41A-B
27.594 44.408 28A County 96
Arden HillsMounds View city line 28.250–
28B US 10 east – St. Paul South end of US 10 overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance
28B County 10 west / County Road H (CR 9) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
28.734 46.243 28C To County 10 / County Road H (CR 9) No northbound exit
Arden HillsMounds ViewShoreview tripoint 29.588–
29 CR I (CR 3)
ShoreviewMounds View city line 30.134 48.496 30 US 10 west – Anoka North end of US 10 overlap
RamseyAnoka county line ShoreviewMounds ViewBlaine tripoint 30.733 49.460 31A CR J, 85th Avenue Northeast (CR 32) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
Anoka Blaine 31.006 49.899 31B Lake Drive (CR 23) Northbound exit and southbound entrance
32.014 51.522 32 County 52 (95th Avenue Northeast)
33.602 54.077 33 County 17 (Lexington Avenue)
Lino Lakes 36.512 58.760 36 County 23
Columbus 41.778 67.235 I-35 north Northbound exit and southbound entrance; I-35 south exit 127
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Minnesota Department of Transportation, Trunk Highway Log Point files, updated July 2006
  2. ^ ADDITIONAL ROUTES ADDED; FEDERAL AID. 161.12, Minnesota Statutes 2006, Minnesota Office of the Revisor of statutes, 2006
  3. ^ "The Bridges And Structures Of The Major Rivers Of Minneapolis And St. Paul". John Weeks. 2005. Retrieved September 1, 2007. 
  4. ^ John Gessner (January 7, 2000). "Burnsville looks back at a rich history". Thisweek Newspapers. Retrieved September 1, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Flood Damage Reduction: What Minnesota Has Done and Still Needs To Do" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. December 2001. Retrieved September 1, 2007. 
  6. ^ 35W/Hwy 62 Reconstruction project F.A.Q. MN DoT
  7. ^ "Capital Improvement Projects City of Minneapolis Public Works". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Cassano, Dennis. (March 17, 1989) Star Tribune. Perpich orders study of closed I-35W bridge lanes. Section News, Page 8B.
  9. ^ Politics and Freeways: Building the Twin Cities Interstate System Patricia Cavanaugh University of Minnesota, p. 77, October 2006
  10. ^ "35W bridge collapses over Mississippi River, cars in the water".  
  11. ^ "35W bridge over Mississippi collapsed".  
  12. ^ "35W Bridge Collapses".  
  13. ^ "Engineer: Mn/DOT to open I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge to traffic at 5 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18". MnDot. September 15, 2008. 
  14. ^ Olson, Dan (December 17, 2007). "Above-ground construction work begins on 35W bridge". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved December 27, 2007. 
  15. ^ "Drivers, Businesses Celebrate 35W Bridge Reopening". WCCO. September 18, 2008. Retrieved September 18, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Mn/DOT invites contractors to bid on I-35W/Crosstown project". Minnesota Department of Transportation. Retrieved May 31, 2007. 
  17. ^ Rick Moore (December 15, 2006). "Freeways and politics: New Report Examines the Stories Behind The Twin Cities Interstate Freeway System".  
  18. ^ Laurie Blake and Rochelle Olson. Star Tribune, August 24, 2004.
  19. ^ Olson, Dan (May 15, 2007). "Untangling the infamous Crosstown Commons now underway". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved May 31, 2007. 
  20. ^ Earmark - Lake Street Access to I- 35W, Minneapolis
  21. ^ Road to Ruin.
  22. ^ URS Consulting (April 2004). "I-35W Bus Rapid Transit Study" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 25, 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2007. 
  23. ^ Mn/DOT I-35W B.R.T. Study page
  24. ^ "Minneapolis Urban Partnership Agreement". Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  25. ^ Minnesota Department of Transportation Urban Partnership Agreement

External links

  • Cavanaugh, Patricia (October 2006). "Politics and Freeways: Building the Twin Cities Interstate System" (PDF).  
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