Study Report on Uncompleted
Interstate Segments in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area
This page lists excerpts from the "Study Report on Uncompleted
Interstate Segments in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area", a study ordered
by the 1975 Minnesota Legislature that directed the Metropolitan Council, the
Transportation Advisory Board, and the cities involved to review the
then-uncompleted segments of Interstate Highway within the 7-county metro area
and make recommendations on those segments.
You will notice several references to the Minnesota Highway Department (or
The Minnesota Highway Department was merged with other transportation-related
state agencies in 1976 to become what is today's
Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC), which provided transit services in the
Twin Cities at the time, eventually morphed into today's
Chapter 1: Introduction
Authorization for the Study
This report is prepared in response to state law (Chapter 203, 1975 Session
Laws) passed by the 1975 Minnesota Legislature which directs the Metropolitan
Council with the Transportation Advisory Board and affected municipalities to
study the uncompleted segments of the Interstate Highway System within the
Metropolitan Area. The law states that:
- Sec. 16. The Metropolitan Council with the Transportation Advisory Board
and the city councils of the affected cities shall review the uncompleted
sections of the Interstate system in the seven county metropolitan area.
Such review shall include an analysis of the financial and social impact as
to alternative Interstate route designations or transit substitutes while
maintaining the integrity of the Interstate system.
- The Metropolitan Council shall report the findings of such study to the
state legislature not later than February 1, 1976.
- Sec 17 (APPROPRIATION.) There is hereby appropriated to the Metropolitan
Council from the general fund the sum of $25,000 for the purpose of Section
This study mandate is a part of legislation commonly referred to as the Gas
Tax Law. This law includes other provisions which affect highways and
transit in general and Interstate highways in particular. The Gas Tax Law
modifies existing legislation by increasing the tax on gasoline from 7¢
to 9¢ per gallon. Money is appropriated to the Metropolitan Area and
outstate areas for transit. Money also is appropriated to MHD to permit the completion of its 1975 fiscal year construction
program. In addition to these appropriations for transportation,
construction of acquisition of land for a number of roadway segments is
prohibited. These segments are:
- the uncompleted section of I-35E in St.
- the extension of the Dartmouth interchange
- TH 55 in South Minneapolis as a freeway or
The prohibitions are not absolute, however, and certain transportation
improvements would be allowed. The latter include:
- construction of a parkway in place of I-335
- construction of TH 12 as a 6-lane highway within the existing
- construction of a parkway that is not connected to I-94 in place of
I-35E in St. Paul
- widening of TH 55 in South Minneapolis up to, but not exceeding, 6
Other road construction would be allowed including the following:
- a roadway generally along the alignment of Shepard Rd from I-35E to I-94
- a roadway along the alignment of uncompleted I-35E in St. Paul
connecting to Kellogg Blvd.
The study has been conducted by two committees established by the
Metropolitan Council and the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB). The
Minneapolis Area Committee has examined the routes in the western half of the
Metropolitan Area. The St. Paul Area Committee has examined the routes in
the eastern half. Each city affected by the uncompleted roadways has
designated representatives to sit on the committees. The Minneapolis Area
Committee included representatives from Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Minnetonka,
and St. Louis Park. The St. Paul Area Committee had representatives from
St. Paul, Eagan, Mendota Heights, Sunfish Lake, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Inver
Grove Heights, and South St. Paul. Apple Valley and Burnsville shared one
representative as did Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul. In addition,
each committee had three members from the Transportation Advisory Board and one
member from the Metropolitan Council. A Transportation Advisory Board
member served as chairperson of each committee.
A number of agencies and units of government have supplied staff for the
study. The Metropolitan Council has provided staff to assist in the
coordination and administration of the study as well as to assist in preparation
of the report. The Transportation Advisory Board, MHD, MTC, the Federal Highway Administration
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Inter-County Council, Association of
Metropolitan Municipalities, city staffs and others have supplied technical
support. The Inter-County Council and City of St. Paul have provided
secretaries for the study.
The Interstate Study Committees were responsible for conducting the study
within guidelines established by the Transportation Advisory Board and the
Metropolitan Council. The committees adopted procedures for administering
the study, conducted meetings, reviewed staff reports, held a public forum,
investigated issues, and prepared the draft report.
The Transportation Advisory Board prepared guidelines for the committees,
monitored the progress of the committees, reviewed draft and final reports, and
held the public hearing. Since TAB members serve as chairmen and as
committee members, the TAB also played a substantial role in conducting the
The Metropolitan Council adopted the guidelines that outlined the structure,
process, and schedule for the study. The Council will review and adopt the
final report and submit it to the Legislature.
History of the National Interstate System
The Interstate system began at the federal level with a number of studies
that were undertaken in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. A number of factors
led to this investigation of a system of Interstate roadways. Vehicle
registrations were mounting. The number of cars and trucks tripled from
1920 to 1930 (from 9 million to 27 million autos), and tripled again between
1933 and 1954. As the number of vehicles increased, the number of vehicle
miles traveled also increased. Urban congestion was a growing problem as
was the number of traffic deaths. Many of the highways were becoming
functionally obsolete as development and local land access hindered through
traffic movements. Also, traffic volume projections indicated continued
increase in auto travel. The benefits of a roadway system for economic and
defense needs were pointed out.
Roughly one-fourth of the day-long (24 hour) travel on the freeways near the
Downtown Area will take place during one hour in the morning and one in the
evening - the usual rush hours. The highway authorities determined, in
accordance with standard practice, that the freeways should be designed to
accommodate these peak loads and that critical overloads should be avoided
during the times when the greatest number of citizens will desire to use the
The first study was completed in 1939 and recommended a 26,700-mile system of
urban and rural free roads. A toll road system was rejected as not being
cost effective. In 1944 the National Interregional Highway Committee,
appointed by President Roosevelt, recommended a 39,000-mile system. The
system included 5,000 miles of urban circumferential and distributing routes.
The committee's report was a key document in the development of the Interstate
Highway System and contains many planning, location, and design guidelines that
are relevant today. A process to designate routes began, but there was
little construction because of limited funds. Congress passed the Federal
Aid Highway Act of 1956. To ensure participation by the states, the
federal share was set at 90%. Additional mileage was added to enlarge the
system to 41,000 miles. Highway design standards were set which provided
for complete control of access, two divided roadways, and a capacity for
forecasted 1975 traffic volumes (later changed to capacity 20 years in the
Primary criteria for the system was that the system:
- connect principal metropolitan areas, cities and industrial centers
- serve rural areas with higher population densities
- serve national defense needs
- serve heavy traffic movement corridors
- reach areas of high unemployment
- consider topographic features of the nation.
A map showing the general location of Interstate routes was prepared.
It was recognized, however, that the precise location of routes would have to be
determined locally through further studies.
The Interstate System Within Minnesota and the
Within the state of Minnesota there are three major Interstate routes:
- I-35, which runs from the Iowa border north to the city of Duluth
- I-94, which runs from the Wisconsin border west through the center of
the state to the North Dakota border
- I-90, which runs from the Wisconsin border west across the southern
portion of the state to the South Dakota border
Two of these routes, I-35 and I-94, pass through, and intersect within, the
The Interstate System was envisioned not only as cross country routes, but
also as routes to improve movement within cities. In the Metropolitan
Area, the planning envisioned serving both central cities of Minneapolis and St.
Paul. Thus, I-35 was split into two routes: I-35W would serve
Minneapolis and I-35E would serve St. Paul. I-94 would travel
east-west and would connect the two cities. To improve traffic movement
within the urbanized area, a beltway was planned to carry traffic on peripheral
routes rather than concentrating it on the central links. Additional
routes were planned and were considered necessary to handle the high volumes of
traffic of the more densely populated urban areas.
Through a cooperative effort involving the Bureau of Public Roads (predecessor
to the Federal Highway Administration), MHD, the
Metropolitan Planning Commission (the predecessor of the Metropolitan Council),
counties and cities, a system of freeways and expressways within the
Metropolitan Area was planned in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Over the
years, this highway system has been reduced in size. The transportation
plan for the region is now contained in the Metropolitan Development Guide whose
preparation is the responsibility of the Metropolitan Council. About 73
percent of the Interstate system has now been completed. The planned
system of Interstate highways with uncompleted segments is
Chapter 2: Overview and Summary
Of the seven uncompleted Interstate segments within the Metropolitan Area,
the Interstate Study Committees studied five. These are I-394, I-335,
I-35E in St. Paul, I-35E in Dakota County, and I-494. Two segments, I-94
through North Minneapolis and I-94 in Washington County, do not require
additional study. I-94 through North Minneapolis is now at the
stage where a Final Environmental Impact Statement is being prepared and
revisions made in the design layout. I-94 in Washington County, at one
time, was ready for contract letting, but the project was stopped by the
Commissioner of Highways so that an Environmental Impact Statement could be
prepared. MHD established a study group
consisting of representatives from the cities and various agencies affected by
the Interstate segments. The study group recently made recommendations
following a 22-month study.
The responsibilities for studying the Interstate routes are divided between the
two committees. The Minneapolis Area Committee has studied I-394 and
I-335. The St. Paul Area Committee studied I-35E in St. Paul, I-35E in
Dakota County, and I-494.
The Study Process
The Transportation Advisory Board and the Metropolitan Council prepared the
guidelines indicating the direction and schedule for the study. The
guidelines structured the Committees' work and identified those items that
should be considered. Generally, the process for the study of uncompleted
Interstate segments was based on review, identification of issues, investigation
and analysis of issues and the adoption of recommendations, culminating in this
draft report. The guidelines provide for the following considerations:
- Identification of Goals and Objectives for the Interstate System
- The Committees received written and oral statements from Federal,
state, metropolitan and local agencies and governments. The
Committees adopted guidelines based on these statements.
- Identification of Issues and Adoption of Criteria
- A public forum was held and the criteria were defined and adopted.
The criteria are grouped according to whether they measure the
effectiveness of the transportation improvement in moving people, the
impact of the improvement on the environment, or responds to design
considerations, including cost and state and Federal standards.
The Committees received and discussed information presented by Federal,
state, and local officials, consultants and citizens groups.
- The options available for solution of the problems were identified.
These include alternate alignments, alternate designs, the possibility
of transit substitution, and the "no-build" alternative.
- Evaluation and Analysis
- The alternatives identified were evaluated using the goals,
objectives, and criteria as a guide. Problems noted were
investigated, efforts were made to find solutions and the findings
- The findings were considered and recommendations were made.
- Draft Report
- The Committee prepares a draft report and sends it to the
Transportation Advisory Board, Metropolitan Council, affected cities,
MHD, MTC, and
- The Transportation Advisory Board reviews the report and holds a
- Final Report
- The final report is prepared by the Committees and forwarded to the
Transportation Advisory Board for review. The TAB advises the
Metropolitan Council on adpotion.
- The Metropolitan Council reviews and adopts the report.
- Submitted to the Legislature
- The Metropolitan Council submits the report to the Legislature by
February 1, 1976.
Presentations Before the Interstate Study Committee
The Committees have received a considerable amount of information on the
uncompleted Interstate segments and on the issues surrounding them.
Presentations have been made on the status and history of the projects, the
alternatives considered and the problems which have developed. Groups
supporting or opposing construction gave presentations to the Committees.
Planners, engineers, and environmentalists have addressed the Committee in an
effort to clarify or resolve issues. Minnesota state legislators also
appeared before the Committees and discussed the intent of the legislation
directing the Interstate Study.
During the course of the study, the Metropolitan Council, MHD, FHWA, MTC,
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the affected cities made statements on
the goals, objectives, and concerns they had regarding the uncompleted
Interstate segments. Other presentations have dealt with general issues
surrounding the planning process, more specifically population and traffic
forecasts, the flexibility in use of Federal funds, and issues pertaining to
routes such as noise or air quality problems. A number of citizen's groups
have made presentations before the Committee including RIP-35E, Drive 35E, the
Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association, and the Council on Urban Mobility. A
public forum was held on September 4, 1975.
A list of speakers and their topics can be found in the appendix.
Additional discussion of the statements can be found in the goals and objectives
Summary of Recommendations
The Interstate Study Committee adopted the recommendations on uncompleted
Interstate segments on November 6, 1975. All the resolutions are
predicated on the completion of satisfactory Environmental Impact Statements.
In addition, although not specifically mentioned in the recommendations, the
preferential treatment of transit contained in the Transportation Policy Plan of
the Metropolitan Council is to be considered for each corridor.
The Interstate Study Committee makes the following recommendations:
- Interstate 394
- That MHD should complete the EIS based
on a six fluid lane facility on U.S. 12 that meets freeway standards.
This Environmental Impact Statement should consider all prudent design
alternatives to provide for the safe and efficient movement of traffic.
- That access to adjoining property is a complex problem that should
be resolved by MHD working closely with the
appropriate cities and applicable neighborhood associations to provide
safe and appropriate access.
- That the present right-of-way restriction placed on MHD by the state Legislature in its 1975 session should
be changed to permit limited acquisition for the 6-lane facility with
the advice of the appropriate city in order to provide: a)
safe design, and b) proper environmental considerations.
- That in order for this freeway route to function efficiently, the
design should consider reversible lanes, provide preferential treatment
for buses and multiple occupancy vehicles, such as metered ramps with
bypasses and other procedures used on I-35W, from all access points
including Highway 100, County Road 18, and I-494, with consideration
given to providing exclusive lanes for peak hour within the fluid six
- That consideration be given within the Final Environmental Impact
Statement to such environmental concerns as: meeting of current
noise and air pollution standards, and the secondary impact of the
freeway on residential neighborhoods which would occur if traffic is
permitted to bypass freeway congestion through the use of neighborhood
streets and local arterials.
- That consideration be given to linkage improvements to TH 55 and TH
7, preferably along existing expressways or freeways as part of the
- That consideration be given to providing park-and-ride transit
facilities as part of the Interstate design.
- Interstate 94 (North Minneapolis)
- That the Committee approves of the presently proposed location for
I-94 North and recommends that MHD, the
city of Minneapolis, the Metropolitan Council, and MTC identify and resolve any remaining design issues
within this corridor.
- That the Committee further recommends that transit be considered in
the corridor and that treatment of transit should be, at a minimum,
similar to the freeway metering and preferential bus access found on
- Interstate 335
- That the city of Minneapolis should review the implications of the
increased traffic that will be diverted to local streets and highways if
I-335 is not built.
- That the city of Minneapolis should review other alternatives to
utilize the links from I-35W to I-94 to improve the traffic flow on
other streets, highways, and bridges.
- That if the city of Minneapolis, after completing steps #1 and #2
above, has determined the construction of I-335 not to be in the city's
best interest, then it should work with the other transportation and
government agencies to develop a substitute program for submission prior
to the request to withdraw.
- That if the city of Minneapolis decides to withdraw, it should not
limit its program to the constraints of the present Federal legislation
on substitution but develop a program to best satisfy the corridor's
transportation requirements which may include highway improvements.
- Interstate 94 (Washington County)
- That, due to the depth and completeness of the recently completed
I-94 Management Committee Report, it was deemed unnecessary for the
Interstate Study Committee to study this link further.
- That, since this link is an integral part of the national Interstate
System and since there is no local opposition to a link per se, this
portion of I-94 should be completed, although a decision as to which of
the two proposed alignments is preferable should not be made until the
EIS is finished.
- That it is recommended that the state Legislature not take action on
either alignment until completion of the EIS, since the National
Environmental Protection Act requires that alternates for a proposed
facility be considered in an EIS for the proposed facility.
- Interstate 494
- That I-494 be built from its present terminus in Bloomington to the
Mississippi River Bridge in South St. Paul along the general
right-of-way as partially acquired and as currently proposed under the
- That I-494 in this area be a minimum 6-lane facility.
- That there be complete, full interchange facilities between
I-494 and I-35E.
- That the direct interchange between TH 55 and the I-494/I-35E
facilities be deemphasized with access provided by local minor
- That Highway 55 be retained in its present alignment for a
long-term basis, thereby eliminating the dual/dual interchange
- That planning for a second Mississippi River Bridge at South St.
Paul be continued to accommodate future traffic needs.
- That the basic design solution in the corridor be generally
based on the first stage development proposal as presented by MHD during the course of these sessions,
with special emphasis on concerns of all communities.
- That all construction shall be accomplished in a manner so as to
provide maximum concern for the impact of noise, vibrations, and air
and water pollution on contiguous properties throughout the
- Interstate 35E (Dakota County)
- That, subject to successful analysis of appropriate design
solutions, this committee approves of the I-35E corridor as proposed by
MHD from the junction with I-35 near County
Road 42 in Burnsville to the already completed portion of I-35E at the
interchange with TH 110.
- Interstate 35E (St. Paul)
- That I-35E be completed in the Pleasant Ave corridor with a direct
connection to I-94 with the following additional considerations:
- Upgrade the joint portion of I-94/I-35E in the Capitol approach
area to provide for safe and efficient operation of both facilities.
- Provide noise abatement barriers along I-35E where feasible and
as necessary to maintain the highest reasonable standards.
- Eliminate trucks from the segment of I-35E between the Shortline
Road (Webmaster's Note: this is now Ayd Mill Rd) and
- Provide an acceptable alternate urban truck route via Shepard Rd
and a new connection to I-35E to the north at the Arch-Pennsylvania
interchange, east of the CBD. Improvements should be made as
required to make Shepard Rd an acceptable alternate truck route.
- Monitor air quality at the most sensitive location along I-35E:
United Hospitals (St. Luke's) site and provide for appropriate
action to restrict or bar traffic, should reasonable air quality
criteria be exceeded and continue to coordinate mutual design
solutions between the hospital and MHD.
- Revise the crossing levels of I-35E and Grand Ave to improve
aesthetics while preserving the Cass Gilbert Church.
- Improve the Shortline Road and its connection to Snelling Ave.
- Delete the planned ramps at St. Clair Ave when I-35E is
completed and monitor adjacent streets to determine impact (if
impact is detrimental and ramps are desired they can be added
Chapter 3: Goals and Objectives
Statements of goals, objectives, and issues of concern were presented to the
Interstate Study Committees on July 24, July 31, and August 7, 1975.
Agencies which made presentations include the Metropolitan Council, FHWA, MHD, MTC, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The cities
which made presentations included St. Louis Park, Sunfish Lake, Golden Valley,
Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, Minneapolis, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Mendota
Heights, South St. Paul, and St. Paul. From the statements, the following
goals, objectives, and issues of concern were identified and adopted for use as
a guide in the study.
Goals, Objectives, and Issues of Concern
- Federal level (Federal Highway Administration)
- To reach a common understanding of the Metropolitan Area's surface
transportation needs, goals, and plans; so that those Interstate
segments deemed compatible with the plan may be advanced to
- To resolve the remaining issues regarding completion of
controversial segments of the Interstate System while maintaining the
national integrity of the system.
- Compatibility with the plan for the Metropolitan Area
- Integrity of a national Interstate system.
- State level (Minnesota Highway Department)
- The Department's overall goal in the area of highway transportation
is "To provide for the safe and efficient movement of people, goods,
and services in a manner and form that will most effectively contribute
to the social, environmental, and economic welfare of the people of the
State of Minnesota."
- More specifically are the following goals:
- Promote outstate economic development
- Minimize transportation cost and maximize benefits
- Protect the environment
- Improve highway safety
- Provide improved public transit service
- Minimize plan implementation time
- Connection to the outstate
- Metropolitan Level
- Metropolitan Development Framework
- The metropolitan area should consist of an
urban service area and a rural
service area. Metropolitan systems and urban services will
be provided only within the urban service area. Rural service
standards will be met in the rural service area, and persons
choosing a rural life style should not expect to receive urban
- Reinvestment required for replacement and maintenance of
metropolitan systems serving existing development should have
priority over investment for expansion except where analysis shows a
shortage of land with urban services could seriously affect housing
- Regional shopping, employment, cultural, entertainment,
governmental, and high density residential facilities should be
clustered in centers convenient to the metropolitan transportation
- Service to areas programmed for urbanization
- Coordination with other urban services
- Consistency with timing and staging of Metropolitan Urban
- Orderly and economic development
- Transportation Policy Plan
- Provide metropolitan residents with good accessibility to
subregional and regional opportunities.
- Provide residents of the Urban Service Area as defined in the
Development Framework with efficient, convenient, and attractive
alternative choices of transportation to both subregional and
- Utilize transportation to strengthen the two downtowns as the
major employment, financial, institutional, retail, cultural,
entertainment, medical, and service centers for the Metropolitan
Area, the State of Minnesota, and the Upper Midwest area of the
- Promote programs and projects which produce positive impacts of
the transportation system upon the environment, including those
which are sensitive to the long-range supply and cost of energy
- Access to regional and subregional opportunities
- Alternative means of transportation within the Metropolitan
Urban Service Area
- Support of the two downtowns
- Energy consumption and environmental impact
- Development of an express bus system with preferential treatment
or freeway metering as appropriate.
- To increase the people-moving capacity of roadways by
encouraging people to ride rather than drive with transit,
carpooling, vanpooling, taxi, and similar programs.
- Facilities necessary for express bus transit
- Emphasize increased people-moving capacity rather than
increased vehicle capacity of roadways.
- To preserve or achieve an environment that is healthy for residents
of the area.
- To plan and design regional transportation facilities that are
compatible with the neighborhoods through which they pass.
- To provide local residents with accessibility to regional and
- To coordinate plans for local development and local transportation
systems with plans for regional transportation systems.
- Recognition of local impacts in development of regional
- Access to regional and subregional opportunities
- Coordination between local and regional levels.
The assembled goals, objectives, and issues of concern reflect the
perspectives from the national, state, metropolitan, and community levels
regarding completion of the Interstate system.
- Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
- In their statement, FHWA indicated
that one of their primary concerns was the completion of the essential
links of a national system. The links considered necessary are
those that connect states and cities and those which form beltways
around urban areas. Within the Metropolitan Area, completion of
I-94 in Washington County and I-494 in Dakota County is considered
necessary. The FHWA also, however, seeks to assist the
Metropolitan Area in determining what other transportation improvements
are needed to meet area transportation needs.
- Minnesota Highway Department (MHD)
- The Minnesota Highway Department is concerned about developing a
statewide system of roads and completing necessary links. MHD
noted in their presentation that over the years, studies have confirmed
the need for a completed Interstate system to serve the projected
increase in travel demand. Principal arterials, of which
Interstates are a part, are important because they are expected to carry
up to 50% of the total daily travel. If major components of the
principal arterial system are not completed, a substantial amount of
additional traffic will be diverted to roadways which are not designed
or constructed to carry these additional traffic loads. MHD also noted that land development
decisions were made years ago with the assumption that the Interstate
system would be completed. As major residential, commercial, and
industrial development has occurred, adequate service with the existing
roadway has become increasingly difficult. One result has been the
restricted accessibility for some parts of the Metropolitan Area.
- MHD believes, based upon recent studies by the
Metropolitan Council, that the preferred transit system, at least until
1990, will be a rubber tired vehicle operating on a roadway. There
is only one real alternative, and that is an expanded use and a better
implementation of the bus system. Design options, such as
preferential bus access and exclusive transit lanes, are feasible for
roadways designed as freeways. Finally, MHD
believes that for each of the uncompleted Interstate segments under
study, the improved mobility of the metropolitan population must be
balanced against the effect on a single neighborhood or community.
The existing rights-of-way have been carefully selected to provide for
and to serve existing and emerging traffic generators and present an
opportunity to provide for other modes in the same right-of-way.
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Concerns for the environment, particularly noise and air quality,
were expressed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
The MPCA noted that projects will have to be reviewed for their effect
on the environment. Proposals which consider transit, carpools,
and vanpools are encouraged. The MPCA stated that decisions should
not be made on the uncompleted segments until a metropolitan air
pollution control plan is prepared for the Metropolitan Area.
- Metropolitan Council
- The Metropolitan Council addressed the Interstate system in relation
to two regional plans: the Metropolitan Development Framework and
the Transportation Policy Plan. The Metropolitan Development
Framework is the guided growth plan which seeks to attain the orderly
and economic development of the Metropolitan Area. In preparing
this chapter of the Metropolitan Development Guide, the Council
discussed a number of issues including:
- the Legislative charge to the Council in the Council Act
- the rapid consumption of land
- the under-utilization of existing public services
- the need for affordable housing
- the financial cost of current development patterns
- the impact on the environment
- the need to coordinate private and public decision making at the
- The plan and policies of the Development Framework attempt to
address each of these issues by: 1) proposing a coordinated
planning system that would accommodate growth in the Metropolitan Area
and would utilize the existing governmental planning organizations to
implement the process and, 2) specifying that growth beyond the
Urban Service Area would not be prohibited, but no metropolitan urban
services would be provided at the expense of others. Forced
extensions would be paid by the municipality allowing the problem.
- In preparing the Development Framework, the Council examined the
existing and programmed highway network as one of nine urban services.
As the population grows and as the filling in of land occurs,
construction and upgrading of transportation facilities will be
necessary to provide residents with accessibility and mobility.
The Development Framework states that the development pattern within the
Urban Service Area should provide residents with convenience and choice
in acquiring goods and services. Premature growth in outlying
rural areas which might be induced by the improved accessibility of a
transportation improvement should be controlled with highway design and
the staged provision of other necessary urban services. If
accessibility and mobility are withheld for man area which is programmed
for urban services, the probably result would be to shift growth to
another area or to another sector. Such potential shifts would be
contrary to basic Development Framework goals and objectives.
- The Transportation Policy Plan describes the manner in which
necessary accessibility and mobility within the Metropolitan Area,
consistent with the Development Framework, is to be provided.
First, the plan recognizes that to provide good accessibility and
mobility within the Metropolitan Area, improvements will be required in
the highway system and transit system. The plan seeks to provide
good accessibility to and within the Metro Centers and also seeks to
provide good accessibility within identified transportation subregions. The plan recommends
better utilization of the existing and committed metropolitan highway
- aggressively promoting low-capital and non-capital solutions
including carpooling, vanpooling, dial-a-ride, jitneys, regulated
parking, taxis, fringe parking, staggered work hours, and variable
- metering of freeways, as appropriate
- providing preferential treatment for multi-passenger vehicles
during rush hours and for special major events.
- Also, the policy plan sets accessibility objectives. The
highway system should provide a travel time of no more than 30 minutes
in off-peak periods from any part of the Urban Service Area to one of
the Metro Centers for 90% of the residents of the Urban Service area.
The transit system should provide a travel time of no more than 45
minutes in either peak or off-peak periods from any part of the Urban
Service Area to one or the other of the Metro Centers for 90% of the
residents of the Urban Service Area. The metropolitan highway
system, containing principal and intermediate arterials, is necessary to
meet these accessibility objectives, to eliminate capacity deficiencies
between subregions, and to provide the guideway for a regional express
bus system. Routes of the Interstate system are shown on the map
as principal arterials and as such should be constructed as full access
control facilities. Transportation facilities should be
constructed in a manner which considers goods movement, multiple-use of
right-of-way, safety, air pollution, and noise pollution in their
- Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC)
- By adopting its statement "Transit in Transportation" in
January, 1971, the Commission gave general endorsement to construction
of all elements of the Interstate system as a part of "Highway System
16", which has the "committed" freeway system at that time. Since
that time, a number of highway, transit, and general transportation
studies have been conducted and actions taken which have modified the
MTC's previous position as it relates to construction of specific
sections of the "System 16" Interstate system. Not all of these
corridors are considered as candidates for exclusive transitways.
- Interstate system development is usually based on principles which
recognize the need to accommodate major transportation movements in a
manner compatible with desired land development. One such
principle requires determination of whether or not the proposed link is
essential to development of a continuous nationwide system. A
second principle is that the facility be designed to achieve the desired
pattern of land development. The increased accessibility that a
new freeway affords the areas around interchanges frequently results in
additional urban sprawl.
- On July 18, 1975, the American Public Transit Association (APTA)
submitted a statement on the "Future of the Highway Program" to
the Transportation Subcommittee of the United States Senate Committee on
Public Works. That statement includes a suggestion that
appropriations be provided to "complete the essential connecting
segments of the Interstate system." The MTC endorses this transit
Statements by Cities Directly Affected by Completion of
the Interstate System
The cities directly affected by completion of the Interstate system presented
their concerns. The concerns addressed the general issue of Interstate
construction as well as issues dealing with particular routes.
- St. Louis Park
- St. Louis Park acknowledges that improvements in TH 12 are necessary
but feels that this improvement must be accompanied by a decision to
construct automated transit in the corridor known as the Southwest
Diagonal. A limited highway improvement option is
acceptable to St. Louis Park. The city expressed the concern that
the environmental impacts and particularly the impacts of traffic on
local routes which feed or supplement the freeway be considered.
The aesthetics of the improvement, the treatment of runoff, and the
spacing of interchanges in developed areas were identified as design
matters not adequately considered in the past.
- Sunfish Lake
- The city of Sunfish Lake wishes to go on record as not being opposed
to construction of new highways per se. The city is concerned,
however, with the size of the interchange proposed for I-494, I-35E, TH
49, and TH 55. The city feels that more study should be given to
the use of the TH 110 corridor and the TH 55 corridor. The city
attaches great importance to the Environmental Impact Statement and
feels it should be made available as soon as possible.
- Golden Valley
- Golden Valley opposes Interstate freeways within developed areas and
opposes I-394 in particular. Golden Valley feels that an effective
transit alternative should be provided instead. The city states
that construction of I-394 will increase dependence on the automobile
and postpone or prevent the development of transit. The standards
for Interstate highways are believed inappropriate for developed areas,
and the economic, social, and environmental costs are felt to outweigh
the benefits. Golden Valley does support limited upgrading of TH
12 with an effective mass transit alternative.
- Eagan supports the construction of I-494, I-35E, and TH 36
(Webmaster's Note: TH 36 here refers to today's TH 77) and
feels that such improvements are necessary for the continued growth of
Eagan and Dakota County. Dakota County was the fastest-growing
county in the state in 1974. Improved accessibility to the airport
and improved service to the Eagandale Industrial Park, the new Twin City
Bulk Mail Facility, the new Minnesota Zoo, and the residential
development along Dakota County Road 31 are particularly needed.
- Inver Grove Heights
- Inver Grove Heights supports completion of I-494 and I-35E.
Inver Grove Heights states that the effect of realigning the incomplete
portions of freeways within Ramsey and Dakota Counties would be
detrimental to the city of Inver Grove Heights. The city states
that a major change in the road system plan, such as redesignation of a
proposed roadway, would affect other plans the city has made predicted
on the completion of the system. A change in the road system could
seriously disrupt existing and planned sanitary sewer, watermain, and
storm sewer systems. A deviation in the plan could also seriously
upset the city's thoroughfare plan which was developed using the
original freeway alignment.
- The city of Minneapolis feels that construction of I-335 is no
longer warranted and is currently exploring other uses for the
Interstate money. The segment is, Minneapolis states, a localized
facility, entirely within the city and largely within two neighborhoods.
The facility was designed, in part, to relieve congestion anticipated to
occur on I-94 and I-35W on the west, south, and east sides of downtown
Minneapolis. On another matter, the city supports construction of
I-394 and is relying on Interstate funds to assist in the building of
the Third Avenue Distributor and three fringe parking ramps. The
Third Avenue Distributor is believed needed to serve planned development
in the Minneapolis downtown. The parking ramps are eligible for
Federal funding in connection with I-394 and are needed to meet air
quality standards in the downtown.
- Burnsville and Apple Valley
- Burnsville and Apple Valley support construction of the Interstate
system as planned and particularly support I-35E. They feel that the
long delays have been grossly unfair and disruptive to communities,
particularly those in northern Dakota County, and have severe adverse
influences on the orderly planning for and development of communities within
the area. The cities note that community plans were developed which
relied upon the construction of I-35E. Public developments such as the
new zoo and private developments such as the Sears Regional Shopping Center
(Webmaster's Note: this likely refers to Burnsville Center) require
better access. Also, the cities of northern Dakota County need better
access to downtown St. Paul and other communities in the system.
Burnsville and Apple Valley feel that I-35E should be built consistent with
the design standards for the overall system and should use the best methods
available for dealing with environmental problems of noise, air quality, and
- Mendota Heights
- Mendota Heights supports the construction of I-35E and I-494.
Concerns are expressed, however, regarding the scope and complexity of
design and the extensive right-of-way required for I-494, I-35E, and Highway
55. Design standards which permit local use of the facility are
encouraged. The city does not feel that one community has the right to
destroy the integrity of the Interstate system but does feel that each can
insist on the use of the highest design standards to achieve a roadway
compatible with community development.
- South St. Paul
- South St. Paul supports the completion of I-494 and I-35E. The
city states that its efforts to diversify and/or redevelop its
commercial/industrial area are tied to the completion of a system of
highways serving the area. In this regard a number of points are made.
South St. Paul feels that the Lafayette Freeway should not have been
terminated on the north side of TH 110 because this creates traffic hazards
and deters use of the Lafayette Freeway. Delays in construction of
I-494 are opposed because they too are resulting in a growing number of
accidents. The city feels that failure to construct I-35E is having a
detrimental effect on Dakota County. The routing of I-35E traffic over
the Lafayette Freeway is opposed.
- St. Paul
- The city of St. Paul has no official position on I-35E at this time.
The city did, in April of 1972, join plaintiffs in a lawsuit demanding that
an EIS on the section of I-35E in St. Paul be prepared. The city also,
in May of 1975, asked the Minnesota Legislature to not designate a route for
I-35E but allow local officials to decide. A City I-35E Study Team has
been set up and it is St. Paul's hope that its efforts can be coordinated
with those of the Interstate Study Committees.
Chapter 4: Evaluation Criteria for
On August 14, 1975, the Interstate Committees adopted criteria to use in
their evaluation of alternatives. The criteria were organized into three
categories: effectiveness factors, impact assessment, and design factors.
Effectiveness factors measure how well the improvement functions to move people.
Impact assessment considers the impact of the improvement on the environment.
Finally, design factors consider whether a proposed improvement meets accepted
Federal and state highway design standards and what the implications of a
proposed design are in terms of dollars.
- Effectiveness Factors
- Does a proposed improvement service existing and proposed
development? This would include consideration of major traffic
generators such as shopping centers and industrial parks and would
also consdier developing residential areas.
- Social Benefits
- This criterion primarily relates to accessibility. Is the
improvement needed to provide a population with accessibility to
regional and subregional opportunities? Can the accessibility
be provided with transit alone?
- Cost (Public and Private)
- Is the proposed transportation improvement financially feasible?
If feasible, do the benefits justify the cost?
- Congestion Relief
- The key considerations in level of service are the volume of
traffic attempting to use a roadway and the capacity of the roadway.
Does a proposed transportation improvement result in a higher level
of service and, therefore, reduced congestion?
- Does a proposed transportation improvement reduce the loss of
life and property damage in the movement of people and goods?
- System Continuity
- Is a proposed transportation improvement needed to complete a
system of roadways?
- Modal Split (transit)
- What percentage of the trips can be made on transit?
- Impact Assessment
- What is the level of noise expected from a transportation
improvement and is that level consistent with FHWA noise standards?
- Air Quality
- Does a transportation improvement result in a concentration of
pollutants that exceeds EPA standards?
- Is the proposed transportation improvement aesthetically
- Does the transportation improvement disrupt and divide
communities? How many houses must be taken for the
- Is a transportation improvement necessary for continued economic
development of an area? How many businesses must be acquired
and how many jobs lost?
- Does the transportation improvement preserve the natural
environment? Are any natural systems seriously disrupted?
- What effect does a transportation improvement have on the
consumption of energy?
- Design Factors
- State Highway Standards
- The Minnesota Highway Department has standards for the design of
roadways. Does a proposed improvement meet these standards?
- Federal Highway Standards
- The Federal Highway Administration also has standards for
roadways built with Federal funds including Interstates. Does
the transportation improvement meet these standards?
- Consideration must also be given to the cost of different
designs. Tunneling and elevated construction, for example, are
much more expensive than at-grade or depressed construction.
The cost of the land must be considered as well as the costs of
buying the homes and businesses. Given the cost of a
particular design, do the benefits warrant the design?
Chapter 5: History, Description, and
Current Status of Uncompleted Interstate Segments
The following discussion deals with the seven uncompleted Interstate projects
in the Metropolitan Area including the five which have been studied by the
Interstate Study Committees. Each project is discussed briefly in terms of
the project history, description, and current status.
(Webmaster's Note: separate pages have been created for each of the
seven projects, as linked below.)
Comments are welcomed.
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Page last modified
13 January, 2008