Main route of the Interstate Highway System
|Maintained by Mn/DOT|
|Length:||41.778 mi (67.235 km)|
|South end:||I-35 / I-35E in Burnsville|
| I-94 in Minneapolis
MN 280 in Roseville
|North end:||I-35 / I-35E in Columbus|
Interstate 35W (I-35W), an Interstate Highway in Minnesota, is the western route of Interstate 35. I-35 splits into two branch routes: I-35W, which serves Minneapolis, and I-35E, which serves St. Paul.
Traveling north, I-35 splits at Burnsville, and the I-35W branch runs north for 39 miles (63 km), carrying its own separate sequence of exit numbers. It runs through Minneapolis before rejoining with I-35E to re-form I-35 in Columbus. It supplanted sections of U.S. Highway 8 north of Minneapolis and US 65 south of the city 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 were common. On every other interstate, these directional suffixes have been phased out by designating the suffixed routes with a loop or spur designation. In the case of I-35, since neither branch is clearly the main route and both branches return to a unified interstate beyond the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the AASHTO committees have allowed the suffixes to remain. A similar split on I-35 continues to exist in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in Texas, for similar reasons as the I-35 split in the Twin Cities. The Twin Cities and Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex splits on I-35 are the only suffixed directional splits remaining in the Interstate Highway System.
From the southern terminus of I-35 at Burnsville, I-35W maintains northward with two lanes and adds a third lane at Burnsville Parkway. It then crosses the Minnesota River into Bloomington. At the Bloomington-Richfield border it has a cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 494 and eliminates a lane. I-35W continues north into Richfield where it turns east and joins with TH 62 for about 1/4 mile in what is commonly known as the Crosstown Commons. The two routes split as two lanes of I-35W turn north toward downtown Minneapolis where it adds back a third lane and then later a fourth lane at the East 46th Street on-ramp.
The highway swerves slightly northeast immediately south of downtown to avoid the Washburn-Fair Oaks Mansion District. Two lanes then split north onto former 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 does not have direct access for southbound I-35W to eastbound I-94 or westbound I-94 to northbound I-35W. Drivers must use Cedar Avenue and Washington Avenue to make these connections.
I-35W completes its eastern loop around downtown, crosses the Mississippi River on the new St. Anthony Falls bridge and winds northeast out of Northeast Minneapolis. Here it passes through industrial areas near the cities of Roseville, St. Anthony, Lauderdale, and Arden Hills.
I-35W meets I-694 at New Brighton in a cloverleaf. US 10 joins the route one mile (1.6 km) north of that interchange and the two run concurrently for another mile before US 10 turns westward. It passes next to the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant and again turns northeastward through the suburbs of Mounds View, Lexington, Blaine, Circle Pines, and Lino Lakes. It re-forms with I-35E into I-35 near Forest Lake in Columbus.
I-35W carries its own set of exit numbers while I-35E continues the I-35 exit numbers.
Access between I-35W and I-35E is done via circulator highways 494, 94, and 694 though many trunk and county highways especially near the downtown cores offer direct access between the two.
Legally, the route of I-35W is defined as part of Route 394 in Minnesota Statutes § 161.12(2), but is not signed as such.
I-35W is prone to heavy-rain event flooding in several areas, intersecting both natural habitats including the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and dense urban areas through 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. Dikes have been constructed and the highway road has been raised since then. 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.
When the Minnesota River bridge was completed in 1960 it was two-lanes in each direction. I-35W at the time only extended as far south as 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.
On Wednesday, August 1, 2007, the I-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 Southeast Minneapolis and served residents in the northern suburbs of the metro area. Due to the collapse I-35W was temporarily detoured through eastbound I-94 to northbound Highway 280 where it meets up with I-35W in Lauderdale.
The Interstate 35W Access Project proposes to add and reconfigure ramps roughly from Franklin Avenue to 45th Street. 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 but the project has been controversial.
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 overlap of I-35W and Minnesota State Highway 62. The layout is not a typical intersection: there is only a single level of roadbed and it creates a dogleg in I-35W. This shared right-of-way "intersection" for MN 62 and I-35W 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 HWY 62 is known as the Crosstown Highway.
The project to improve the intersection began in May 2007, after bids were received in April. The new interchange will feature three through-lanes for I-35W in both directions, ending at 42nd Street, and two separate through-lanes for the Crosstown 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.
In 2004, the City of Minneapolis threatened to withhold municipal consent for the project unless new bus lanes and bus stations were included. Lake Street currently has a bus station at grade with I-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 $288 million. The project will include 25 new bridges, 63 lane-miles of highway, and will expand the total roadway width from 6 lanes to 12 lanes at Lyndale Avenue. The bridges will be cast in Coates, Minnesota and trucked in for on-site erection. The new design will include transit/HOV lanes and is scheduled to be completed in 2010.
The proposed I-35W Busway would run from the southern suburb of Lakeville to downtown Minneapolis on I-35W, passing through Burnsville, Bloomington, and Richfield. 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.
|Dakota||Burnsville||0.000||I-35 south||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|0.603||1||CR 42 (Crystal Lake Road)||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|2.693-2.707||3||MN 13 – Shakopee||Signed as exits 3A (north) and 3B (south)|
|3.166-3.196||4A||Cliff Road (CR 5, CR 32)|
|4.153-4.427||4B||Black Dog Road|
|6.236||6||CR 1 (98th Street)|
|8.747-8.758||9||I-494 / MN 5||Signed as exits 9A (east) and 9B (west)|
|9.008||9C||76th Street||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|10.248-10.276||10A||CR 53 (66th Street)|
|10.417-19.966||10B||MN 62 west / 58th Street (TH 121 north)||South end of TH 62 overlap|
|10.995-11.019||11A||Lyndale Avenue||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|11.532||11B||MN 62 east||North end of TH 62 overlap|
|Minneapolis||11.867-11.891||12A||60th Street||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|12.518||12B||Diamond Lake Road|
|13.632||13||46th Street (CR 46)|
|14.880-15.005||14||35th Street, 36th Street|
|15.484-15.627||15||31st Street, Lake Street (CR 3)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|16.194-16.892||16A||I-94 west / Downtown exits||Northbound exit and southbound entrance; former TH 65|
|17.4||16B||I-94 east – St. Paul||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|17.652-17.697||17A||MN 55 (Hiawatha Avenue)||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|17.378||17B||I-94 west / 11th Avenue||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|17.968-18.134||17C||3rd Street (CR 122), Washington Avenue (CR 152) - University of Minnesota|
|18.374-18.736||St. Anthony Falls Bridge|
|18.804-18.881||18||University Avenue (CR 36), 4th Street Southeast|
|19.564||19||East Hennepin Avenue (CR 52)|
|20.535-20.779||21A||CR 27 (Stinson Boulevard) / CR 88 (New Brighton Boulevard)|
|21.518-21.552||22||To MN 280 / Industrial Boulevard, St. Anthony Boulevard|
|Ramsey||Roseville||21.955-22.298||23A||MN 280||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|22.619-23.1||23B||MN 36 / Cleveland Avenue (CR 46)|
|23.513-23.547||24||County Road C (CR 23), Cleveland Avenue (CR 46)|
|24.578||25A||County Road D (CR 19)|
|24.920||25B||MN 88||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Arden Hills and New Brighton||26.090||26||County Road E2 (CR 46, CR 73)|
|26.760-26.776||27||I-694||Signed as exits 27A (east) and 27B (west)|
|Arden Hills and Mounds View||28.250-28.481||28B||US 10 east – St. Paul||South end of US 10 overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|28.250-25.481||28B||CR 10 west / County Road H (CR 9)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|28.734||28C||To CR 10 west / County Road H (CR 9)||No northbound exit|
|29.588-29.608||29||County Road I (CR 3)|
|Shoreview and Mounds View|
|30.134||30||US 10 west to MN 65||North end of US 10 overlap|
|Shoreview and Blaine||30.733||31A||County Road J, 85th Avenue Northeast (CR 32)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|Blaine||31.006||31B||Lake Drive (CR 23)||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|32.014||32||CR 52 (95th Avenue Northeast)|
|33.602||33||CR 17 (Lexington Avenue)|
|Lino Lakes||36.512||36||CR 23|
|Columbus||41.778||I-35 north||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|