35W @ 94 Self-Guided Tour

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Minnesota DOT

About the Project

MnDOT is making significant upgrades to I-35W between downtown Minneapolis and 46th Street Construction began in 2017 and is anticipated to be complete in the fall of 2021. Check out each stop on this self-guided tour to learn more about the improvements coming to your community soon:

  • Improving interchange connections to reduce congestion
  • Making the pedestrian bridges more accessible for all users
  • Fixing and replacing bridges to make it safer to cross I-35W
  • Reconstructing the travel lanes and adding a southbound MnPASS lane
  • Widening sidewalks and adding a new walking and biking connection to the Midtown Greenway
  • Adding new ramps to make it easier to get to neighborhoods and local businesses
  • Building a transit station at Lake Street

Look and Learn!

You can see all stops on the self-guided tour by visiting the places listed above in person or by scanning the icon on the right of this board to take you to an interactive map of the tour stops. Enjoy exploring and learning!

Franklin Steele Park Rebuilding I-35W In Your Community

Listen to an audio clip of Steve Barrett, MnDOT Construction Manager

Show text transcript.

Hello! Thank you for joining our self-guided tour of the 35W@94 project. My name is Steve Barrett and I am the MnDOT Construction Manager for this project.

Overall, the reconstruction of I-35W and I-94 south of downtown Minneapolis has remained on schedule and on budget, all while generally keeping most of the freeway lanes open to traffic. Much of this is because of the hard work of hundreds of MnDOT Staff and all our many partners including: Prime Contractors Ames, Lunda, Shafer, Hennepin County, the Metropolitan Council, City of Minneapolis, and the many other subcontractors, suppliers, consulting engineers, and agencies associated with this massive public works project.

There are over 40 different contractors working on this project, with nearly 30% of the work being performed by people of color. While the actual number varies each day, it is not uncommon to have over 200 workers on site.

Did you know the original construction bid was $239 million and the final construction cost is anticipated to be within five percent of that original bid amount? That is a lot of public money and we are committed to ensuring the citizens of Minnesota get good value for their tax dollars. Continue reading to learn more about the construction.

To New Heights

A new flyover ramp is being built to help reduce congestion at the I-35W and I-94 west interchange. You heard it correctly! After the ramp is built, northbound motorists on I-35W will have their own dedicated lane to I-94 west and won’t need to merge into traffic.

Photo: Check out the drawing of the future I-35W and I-94 interchange.

Flyover rendering of the intersection

Did You Know?

The highway where I-35W and I-94 come together is called the “Commons” and is being reconstructed and reconfigured. I-35W southbound now travels underneath the exits and entrances to downtown just north of Franklin Avenue. To accomplish this, a new tunnel-like bridge was constructed.

Photograph of construction taking place

What is a MnPass lane?

We’re also improving busy commutes by adding MnPASS lanes to I-35W. Most of the day MnPASS lanes are open to all drivers and vehicles. During peak travel times, transit, motorcycles and vehicles with two or more occupants may drive in the designated MnPASS Express Lanes for free, and solo motorists (with MnPASS accounts and tags) pay a fee. Visit the MnPASS website to learn more about how MnPASS works.

Flyover rendering of the toll plaza

Drone Footage

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no—it’s a drone.

Watch the drone footage to see the project progress and see the new bridges and ramps take shape before your eyes. Drone videos will be updated regularly so we encourage you to continue visiting the project website.

Ever wonder what I-35W will look like once the project is complete? View the visualization of the completed reconstruction of I-35W from 46th Street to I-94, including the construction of an on-line Transit Station on I-35W at Lake Street

Featured Artwork

First- through fifth-grade students in Ms. Lipps’ art class at Richard R. Green Central Park Elementary School in south Minneapolis created this collaborative art project highlighting places in their community.

A collage of a city street, made by local students.

MnDOT is committed to building relationships with K-12 schools across the state and providing activities to enhance their STEAM programs. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.


Franklin Avenue Bridge A Public History of I-35W

Listen to an audio clip of Greg Donofrio, Director of the U of M’s Heritage Studies and Public History Program and Denise Pike, Public Historian

Show text transcript.

Look up and down the freeway and listen to its sounds. Do you see the tall piles of dirt? Can you hear the noises of the big machines building the roadway? This is close to what it looked like and sounded like when Interstate 35W was nearing completion fifty years ago.

Between 1958 and 1968, nearly 900 properties and over 50 square blocks were taken and demolished to make the freeway. Neighborhoods were permanently divided. Thousands of south Minneapolis residents were displaced from their homes. Who are these residents? What happened to them? Where did they go? How has the freeway impacted the south Minneapolis community?

These questions are important. But their answers have been lost over time. Little is known today about what it was like to live through the freeway’s construction, or what it has been like to live with every day for the past fifty years. Probably everyone in south Minneapolis has a personal story about the freeway. Are you willing to share yours?

A Public History of 35W is a project to find and record personal experiences and histories of the freeway told from a community perspective. Your stories matter. To get involved and to learn more about future public presentations, walking tours, and exhibits, visit our website.

Consider the Human Costs

Almost 900 properties were acquired and demolished by the state of Minnesota. As a result, thousands of residents were forced to relocate, to create the segment of I-35W between Franklin Avenue and Highway 62 in south Minneapolis. Property acquisition began in 1958 and the project took a decade to compete.

The Minnesota Highway Department informed the public about its plans to build the south Minneapolis freeway in two presentations in March 1959, at which relatively few people attended. The legally-mandated public notice for these meetings was printed in the back pages of the Star Tribune.

Property owners were compensated with a “fair market value” for their homes, but many said it was not enough to buy a house of similar quality in an equivalent neighborhood. Six hundred area residents signed a petition delivered to Governor Orville Freeman in March 1957 protesting the freeway location and the amount the state proposed to pay for their houses. Homeowners were not compensated for relocation expenses and renters received nothing at all.

Photo: I-35W under construction in the mid-1960s looking north towards Minneapolis. Minnesota Historical Society Gale Family Library, Minnesota Department of Transportation collection, 142.H.10.7B-2, box 31.

I-35W under construction in the mid 1960s looking north towards Minneapolis.

Black residents who were displaced by the freeway had fewer options for relocation due to redlining and other forms of racial housing discrimination. The freeway created an east-west racial dividing line in south Minneapolis.

National research indicates that, because of housing discrimination, people of color are more likely to live adjacent to freeways and other pollution sources. Economically disadvantaged and minority populations share a disproportionate burden of residential exposure to traffic-related air pollution.

In 1970, the federal government passed the National Environmental Policy Act and Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act. Today, these laws ensure that homeowners and renters are fairly compensated and supported throughout the acquisition and relocation process. MnDOT is committed to engaging with the public early and often on large transportation projects that affect people’s lives, avoiding displacement whenever possible. There were no residential relocations and two business relocations for the 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown Project.

Quotes

“We freeway victims have been at the mercy of the Highway Department long enough. We highly object to the unfair methods and tactics. We demand your quick action to see that we get fair treatment and truly fair prices for our homes.”
– Mr. & Mrs. Adolph T. Nygaard. Telegram, April 1959. Hwy Hearing Files, Minnesota Historical Society Gale Family Library, 115.F.16.8(F).

“I looked up one morning and they were cutting down trees, which is not something Minneapolis does… That is how I learned about the construction of Interstate 35W.”
– Walter Foster. Resided on the 4300 block of South Second Avenue.

“Thirty-five W was a social and economic barrier…When Blacks were trying to go over to the west of 35 houses were being sold for nothing to keep them white…I remember Black guys getting chased down by cars at 38th and First Av. and hightailing it back across the freeway.”
– Joe Steffel. The Alley, August 1990.

Featured Artwork

Oliver Freet, a 3rd-grader from Lyndale Community School in Minneapolis, created this amazing drawing showing how people move in their community. He studied the Minneapolis skyline and added unique characters that he creates for his original comics.

City-themed illustration by local elementary school students.

MnDOT is committed to building relationships with K-12 schools across the state and providing activities to enhance their STEAM programs. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.


24th Street Pedestrian Bridge Making Connections in Your Community

Listen to an audio clip of Aaron Tag, MnDOT West Area Engineer

Show text transcript.

Hello! Thank you for joining our self-guided tour of the 35W@94 project. My name is Aaron Tag and I am the West Area Engineer at MnDOT. I oversee MnDOT projects in Hennepin County.

You are standing near the future entrance of the new 24th Street Pedestrian Bridge which will be wider, and fully accessible for wheelchairs and people walking and biking. The new bridge will have decorative railings and lighting across the bridge to make it safer for all users. Keep reading to learn more about the pedestrian bridges at 24th Street and 40th Street We are very excited to be making these connections in your community.

Building Better Bridges

The pedestrian bridges over I-35W at 24th Street and 40th Street are being rebuilt to make the crossings more accessible for people walking and biking. The old bridge was not ideal for people having to walk up and down the steep stairs, let alone carry a bicycle up and over.

We have good news for you. The new pedestrian bridges will have the following features:

A diagram showing the accessibility and decorative improvements.

Old Features

  • Not accessible
  • 8" wide
  • Chain link fences

New Features

  • Fully accessible
  • 14" wide
  • Decorative railing
  • Lighting across bridge
  • Almost 20" lower

What's With the Fence?

During the years, photographers cut several holes in the chain link fence to capture the iconic view of the downtown skyline. Two sections of the fence with cut outs were saved and will be on display at a bridge opening event in 2021.

Sections of wire fence with holes cut out.
Holes in a wire fence framing a view of downtown Minneapolis.

Photo by Jonathan Kim

See More

Check out some Minneapolis skyline photos submitted by several community members! Thanks to all who came out to take photos at our Photo Day celebration in the summer of 2018 before the bridge was closed for construction. Be sure to watch for more information about our bridge opening celebration in 2021!

A collection of photographs taken from the same location.

Featured Artwork

Students in Ms. Walker’s art class at Lyndale Community School in south Minneapolis created this beautiful collaborative art project of shoes and soles moving together in community. Several grade levels used observational drawing to improve their technical skills and add texture to the bottom of their shoes.

Walking-themed artwork from local elementart schools.

MnDOT is committed to building relationships with K-12 schools across the state and providing activities to enhance their STEAM programs. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.


Midtown Greenway New Entrances and Public Art

Listen to an audio clip of Soren Jensen, Midtown Greenway Coalition Executive Director

Show text transcript.

My name is Soren Jensen and I am the Executive Director at the Midtown Greenway Coalition. I’m excited to tell you about a few improvements that MnDOT and the City of Minneapolis are working on to enhance the greenway experience.

First of all, we’re getting a new bicycle and pedestrian ramp to the Midtown Greenway—the first new one in more than a decade. The new ramp will connect the Greenway to Lake Street and the new I-35W Transit Station. In addition to making the Greenway more accessible, we’re especially excited that the new ramp will include public art created by a local artist. Getting more art into the Greenway by local artists helps create a cultural corridor for all to enjoy. The new ramp will also feature enhanced lighting—which is always welcome—since the Greenway is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

The Midtown Greenway Coalition is a coalition of neighborhoods, organizations and individuals who love the Midtown Greenway. We’re the people who got the Greenway built by public agencies and we continue to work to protect and enhance it every day. We’re pleased to have played a role in making suggestions for the design of this new bike and pedestrian ramp, and we can’t wait for it to open. Having partners like MnDOT and the City of Minneapolis is great, and we appreciate their work on making this excellent new connection to the Greenway.

A Greener Path

The Green Crescent is taking shape on the west side of I-35W between Lake Street and the Midtown Greenway. The Green Crescent is a one-block stretch of greenspace that will include walking and bicycling paths to connect the Midtown Greenway to the new Lake Street Transit Station. It will open in 2021 and will include public art, seating and lighting.

Just west of the Green Crescent is a new exit ramp from southbound I-35W to Lake Street that will open in 2021, improving access to small businesses in the area. Motorists traveling north will be able to exit I-35W at 28th Street using a new ramp once the project is complete.

Rendered image of pedestrians enjoying the new space.
Rendered image of bicyclists enjoying the new space.
Artistic drawing of the new Lake Street Transit Station.

Public Art

The City of Minneapolis commissioned Maria Cristina Tavera and Xavier Tavera, two Latinx artists who have worked extensively near Lake Street, to create a community-inspired public art installation for the Green Crescent. For more information please contact: PublicArt@minneapolismn.gov.

An illustration of the artists.

Lake Street Transit Station

A new two-story transit station is under construction at Lake Street and I-35W. Customers will board the METRO Orange Line and I-35W express bus routes on the freeway level, and will have easy connections to Lake Street, local bus routes and the Midtown Greenway. The station will provide significant comfort, accessibility and safety upgrades.

A side-view drawing of the Transit Station levels.
A simplified Orange Line route map

Featured Artwork

Fourth-grade students in Ms. Lipps’ art class at Richard R. Green Central Park Elementary School in south Minneapolis drew bikes when asked how they move through their community.

A collection of bicycles drawn by local students.

MnDOT is committed to building relationships with K-12 schools across the state and providing activities to enhance their STEAM programs. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.


Lake Street Transit Station A New Transit Station in Town

Listen to an audio clip of Juan Rangel, Metro Transit Community Outreach Coordinator (Audio in English)

Show text transcript.

You are looking at the future home of the I-35W & Lake Street Transit Station. Hi, my name's Juan Rangel and I'm with Metro Transit.

This station will open in late 2021 with the launch of the METRO Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit service along 35W. This two-story station will allow customers to board the Orange Line and 35W express bus routes on the freeway level. And it will provide easy connections to Lake Street, local bus routes like the 21, and the Midtown Greenway. The entire station will be ADA accessible and provide a significant upgrade in comfort and safety over the area’s previous bus stops. The station will include pedestrian plazas, indoor waiting space, ticket machines, bike parking, benches, real-time bus arrival information, heating, led lighting, trash and recycling bins, a station marker and information kiosks. A new trail connection is being built on the west side of the station to provide seamless access to and from the Midtown Greenway.

The Orange Line is a 17-mile highway Bus Rapid Transit line that will connect Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington, and Burnsville along 35W. It will provide frequent, all-day service in both directions, seven days a week. It will serve this station every 10-minutes during rush-hour and every 15 minutes during non-rush hour. The travel time from this station to downtown Minneapolis is just seven minutes.

Including other routes, 700 buses will stop at this station each day. This station located where the neighborhoods of Lyndale, Whittier, West Phillips and Central meet, will become a major transit hub for the region. Construction of this station is in coordination with MnDOT’s 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown project and in partnership with Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis. Metro Transit is also planning the METRO B Line bus rapid transit line to provide faster and more reliable transit service in the Route 21 corridor along Lake Street and Marshall Avenue. This station will accommodate a future B Line station on Lake street. B Line construction is anticipated in 2022, pending funding.

Listen to an audio clip of Juan Rangel, Metro Transit Community Outreach Coordinator (Audio in Español)

Show text transcript.

Hola, Estás viendo el futuro hogar de la estación de tránsito de la carretera 35W y la Lake Street. Esta estación se abrirá a fines de 2021 con el lanzamiento del METRO Línea Naranja, un servicio de transito rápido de autobuses en la carretera 35.

Esta estación de dos pisos permitirá a los clientes abordar las líneas de autobuses de exprés y la línea Naranja en el nivel de la carretera. También proporcionará conexiones fáciles a la Lake Street, rutas de autobuses locales como la 21 y el Midtown Greenway. Se está construyendo una nueva conexión de senderos en el lado oeste de la estación para facilitar acceso desde y hacia el Midway Greenway. La estación será una mejora en comodidad y seguridad. La estación incluirá plazas peatonales, espacios de espera interiores, máquinas para comprar boletos, estacionamiento para bicicletas, bancos, información de llegada de autobuses, calefacción, iluminación, y quioscos de información. La estación será accesible a individuos con discapacidades.

La línea naranja es una línea de transito rápido de autobuses de 17 millas que conectará Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington y Burnsville a lo largo de 35W. Proporcionará un servicio frecuente durante todo el día, en ambas direcciones, cada día de la semana. Servirá a esta estación cada 10 minutos durante las horas pico y cada 15 minutos durante las horas no pico. El tiempo de viaje desde esta estación hasta el centro de Minneapolis es de solo 7 minutos.

Incluyendo otras rutas, 700 autobuses pararán en esta estación cada día. Esta estación ubicada donde se encuentran los vecindarios de Lyndale, Whittier, West Phillips y Central, se convertirá en un importante centro de tránsito para la región. La construcción de esta estación está en coordinación con el proyecto 35W @ 94: Downtown to Crosstown de MnDOT y en asociación con el condado de Hennepin, la ciudad de Minneapolis. Metro Transit también está planeando la línea de tránsito rápido de autobuses de la Línea METRO B para proporcionar un servicio de tránsito más rápido y confiable en el corredor de la Ruta 21 a lo largo de Lake Street y Marshall Avenue. Esta estación acomodará una futura estación de la Línea B en la calle Lake. Se prevé la construcción de la Línea B en 2022, pendiente de financiación.

New Transit Station

The future home of the new I-35W and Lake Street Transit Station is scheduled to open in late 2021 with the launch of METRO Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit service along I-35W. This two-story station will allow customers to board both Orange Line and I-35W express bus routes on the freeway level, and will provide easy connections to Lake Street, the Midtown Greenway, local bus routes and the planned METRO B Line bus rapid transit line.

The station will include bicycle parking, benches, real-time bus arrival information, heating, trash and recycling bins and an information kiosk. Energy-efficient LED lighting will be used and the entire station will be ADA-accessible and provide a significant upgrade in comfort and safety from existing bus stops.

Rendered image of the new Lake Street Transit Station.

METRO Orange Line

The Orange Line will soon stop on I-35W at Lake Street. The Orange Line is a 17-mile planned highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line that will connect Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington and Burnsville along I-35W. The Orange Line will provide frequent, all-day service in both directions, seven days a week.

Did You Know?

The Orange Line will serve stations every 10 minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes during non-rush hour.

  • 700 buses will stop here each day
  • 100 buses traveling downtown will stop here during rush hour
  • 7 minutes travel time to get downtown

The METRO B Line is a planned BRT line that will provide faster and more reliable transit service to Route 21 along Lake Street, Marshall Avenue and Selby Avenue.

Each weekday, customers take more than 10,000 rides on Route 21

Featured Artwork

Fourth-grade students in Ms. Lipps’ art class at Richard R. Green Central Park Elementary School in south Minneapolis drew these awesome illustrations showing some of the different transportation methods from around our city.

Transportation-themed artwork from local elementary school students.

MnDOT is committed to building relationships with K-12 schools across the state and providing activities to enhance their STEAM programs. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.


38th Street Bridge Bridging Gaps in Your Community

Listen to an audio clip of Erik Baxstrom, MnDOT Strategic Engagement Coordinator

Show text transcript.

Hello! My name is Erik Baxstrom and I am the MnDOT Strategic Engagement Coordinator for the 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown project.

Welcome to the newly constructed 38th Street bridge. When this bridge was finished, we hosted a sit-down dinner for over 400 people on the bridge to celebrate community and bring people from both sides of the freeway together for a meal. That is just one example of the community engagement that MnDOT has done as part of this project. We also partnered with the Hennepin History Museum and University of Minnesota to explore the history of I-35W in south Minneapolis, including facilitated talks about environmental considerations, bus and bike tours of the project, and activities for kids. We held events at local ice cream shops, street festivals, coffee shops and other venues all over south Minneapolis.

MnDOT is also committed to engaging with local schools and recognizes the need to develop diverse and talented workforce for the future. Throughout this project, we've connected with schools in the area, like Justice Page Middle School, Washburn High School and Lyndale Open School, to provide students with opportunities for hands-on learning through classroom activities, field trips, and project tours. Thanks for listening.

Building Bridges, Connecting Communities

The 38th Street Bridge is one of the 15 bridges that are being replaced or rehabilitated as part of this project. It was replaced in 2018 and the new bridge now features wider sidewalks, ADA improvements and improved lighting.

Over 400 community members came together for a sit-down dinner on the bridge in 2018 to celebrate its reopening and the bonds of community.

Photo: Community members from both sides of the freeway came together to enjoy a three-course meal on the 38th Street Bridge over I-35W

A large crowd gathered for a community dinner.

Connecting with Students

The Minnesota Department of Transportation recognizes the need to develop a diverse and talented workforce to fulfill their vision of creating a safe, efficient and sustainable transportation system for the future. Throughout this project, MnDOT has connected with schools in the area and provided students with opportunities for hands-on learning through classroom activities, field trips and project tours.

Students from the YWCA Eureka Program, Wellstone International High School and Blaine High School toured the 35W@94 project, interacted with project engineers and learned about careers in transportation.

Students from a local school visiting a constuction site.

Learn More

Read our blog to learn more about MnDOT’s community engagement efforts during this project.

Featured Artwork

Students in Ms. Walker’s art class at Lyndale Community School in south Minneapolis explored the topic that each of us is a piece of a community. Students at several grade levels took a quarter sheet of paper and created a group piece that could not be complete unless the pieces came together to form a whole. Students used repetition and pattern to create this colorful, collaborative art piece.

Bike-themed artwork by local elementary school students.

MnDOT is committed to building relationships with K-12 schools across the state and providing activities to enhance their STEAM programs. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.


40th Street Pedestrian Bridge Honoring and Inspiring Your Community

Redesigning the Railings

Local artist Seitu Jones’ railing concepts are derived from photos of the neighborhood and play with shape, line and perspective, providing a view of the nearby houses and tree canopies. On the face, this design appears to be simple, but it is actually extremely complex, with varying widths of steel pickets making up the lighter and darker shapes that form the houses and trees.

In 2020, additional elements will be added to the bridge including bronze open hand forms and aluminum Adinkra symbols. Jones’ designs were guided by I-35W Access Project’s Public Art Framework Plan and its vision to reflect the character of the adjacent neighborhoods, including community recommendations to recognize the:

  • Freeway’s separation and dislocation of people, homes and businesses
  • Focus on the environment, and nature of the park (which at one time occupied this space)
  • Experiences of both the interior and freeway audiences
  • Visual impact created through negative space and shadows

For more information about this art project or the City of Minneapolis’ art program, please contact mary.altman@minneapolismn.gov.

Technical drawing of the conceptual railway design.

Insight from Seitu Jones

Open Hands (shown below):

This incorporates the concept of the bridge as an embrace between two sides of I-35W.

“After experimenting with a series of drawings of handshakes, I focused on an oversized open hand. The low relief sculpture of a hand would ... greet and welcome walkers and cyclists.”

Adinkra Symbol (shown below):

This set of symbols originated in West Africa and were traditionally applied to cloth... Each symbol has a meaning and theme or parable relaying one of life’s lessons. It was suggested by a southside stakeholder that we use Adinkra symbols.

“I am using the Adinkra symbol for Unity and Democracy. This image of two crocodiles sharing the same stomach, but yet fighting over food ... is a perfect metaphor for bridging the many divides of race and class.”

Techincal drawing of additional artistic elements.

Featured Artwork

Fourth-grader Jasper Gilbertson created this beautiful bird’s-eye view drawing of a city in Ms. Walker’s art class at Lyndale Community School in south Minneapolis. He studied one-point perspective as a technique to show distance and space on a flat surface.

A top-down view of a city, drawn by a local student.

MnDOT is committed to building relationships with K-12 schools across the state and providing activities to enhance their STEAM programs. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.


42nd Street Bridge Improvements to Bridges and Drainage

Listen to an audio clip of Mike Haggerty, a Geotechnical Engineer at Barr Engineering

Show text transcript.

Hello! Thank you for joining MnDOT’s self-guided tour. My name is Mike Haggerty, a senior geotechnical engineer from Barr Engineering Company, and the design team manager for the I-35W stormwater storage facility project.

Did you know that MnDOT is adding six large drainage tanks underneath the road between 40th Street and 42nd Street? These tanks will help to mitigate frequency of flooding on the road, creating more resilient transportation corridor along I-35W. The technique selected for construction consists of what is called a diaphragm wall installation. This technique allows large equipment to extend panels approximately three feet by nine feet into the ground by cutting and removal of in place material and replacing with concrete. These interconnected panels form the outer layer walls of the underground tanks and provide ground support during excavation operations. The technique is advantageous because it facilitates work in a high groundwater table area by minimizing pumping and can be performed in a tight construction footprint space.

When completed the tanks will be about 40 feet in diameter and extend approximately 80 feet into the ground. All the tanks are connected to allow for uniform filling and a pump system will remove the stored water after stormwater is cleared from existing tunnel infrastructure. The entire project provides fourteen acre feet stormwater surge capacity volume during certain magnitude of precipitation events. The tanks improve drainage and reduce the frequency of flooding along I-35W.

Going Underground

We’re constructing a retaining wall and six huge underground water storage tanks between 40th Street and 42nd Street on the east side of the freeway to improve drainage on I-35W. These tanks will hold about 4.5 million gallons of water (almost enough to fill and freeze 300 NHL-sized ice rinks). During heavy rains the tanks will capture rainwater, store it and slowly release it into drainage pipes. This will help reduce the chance and frequency of flooding on the freeway. It will also help with MnDOT’s overall goal of making a safer, more reliable and more resilient transportation system.

Photo: Rendering of the six water storage tanks that are being installed underground between 40th Street and 42nd Street on the east side of the freeway.

Rendered image of the new water storage tanks.

Bridge Improvements

We’re also constructing 11 new bridges and repairing four more as part of the project to increase safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. Two pedestrian bridges are being rebuilt to provide better access for people walking and biking, with wider accessible design. Visit the “Making Connections in Your Community” stop at 24th Street to learn more about the improved connections.

A Timeline of Area Bridges

Portland Avenue Bridge – Completed: Fall 2017

Franklin Avenue Bridge – Completed: June 2018

38th Street Bridge – Completed: August 2018

26th Street Bridge – Completed: November 2018

28th Street Bridge – Completed: June 2019

40th Street Bridge – Completed: October 2019

I-35W Bridge Over Lake Street – Coming Soon!

24th Street Bridge – To Be Completed: Fall 2021

Featured Artwork

Students in Ms. Lipps’ art class at Richard R. Green Central Park Elementary School in south Minneapolis created this collaborative art project highlighting places in their community.

Consturction paper street collage made by local students.

MnDOT is committed to building relationships with K-12 schools across the state and providing activities to enhance their STEAM programs. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.