Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Rethinking I-94

I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul

About this project

Hwy 149 project map
Rethinking I-94 Study area map.
Click map for larger PDF version.

Construction of I-94 in the 1960s destroyed homes, disconnected neighborhoods and led to a pattern of community distrust with the Minnesota Highway Department — now MnDOT. MnDOT started Rethinking I-94 in 2016 to develop a new vision with the community. MnDOT is committed to doing better. Rethinking I-94 intends to reconnect neighborhoods, revitalize communities and ensure residents have a meaningful voice in transportation decisions that affect their lives.

Environmental documentation phase

The current phase focuses on continuing engagement with I-94 communities, developing and evaluating alternatives for I-94, and identifying actions to address I-94 needs. This is done as part of the environmental documentation process established in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA).

What is NEPA?

NEPA was established on Jan. 1, 1970. NEPA was the first major environmental law in the United States. It requires Federal agencies, and those using federal funding, to assess environmental impacts of proposed federal actions/projects prior to making decisions. The act establishes a federal responsibility to:

  • Assure safe, productive, and esthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings
  • Preserve important historic, cultural and natural aspects
  • Balance between people and resource use

NEPA process

  • Public Involvement – MnDOT is committed to increasing transparency and collaboration and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to participate in public engagement.
  • Interagency coordination – Collaborative decision making with federal, state and local agencies is key to achieving environmentally responsible transportation decisions.
  • Purpose and need – The purpose and need statement explains why MnDOT is undertaking the proposed
  • action and what its objectives are.
  • Alternatives – A range of proposed alternatives are compared and evaluated to select a preferred alternative.
  • Impacts Part of the alternatives comparison includes estimating social, economic and environmental impacts of each alternative.
  • Mitigation – The NEPA process is intended to help public officials make decisions that are based on understanding of environmental consequences, and take actions that protect, restore, and enhance the environment.
  • Documentation – The purpose of documenting the NEPA process provides for complete disclosure to the public; allows others an opportunity to provide input and comment on proposals, alternatives, and environmental impacts; and provides the appropriate information for the decision maker to make a reasoned choice among alternatives.

For more information on NEPA, visit FHWA NEPA transportation Decisionmaking or Highway Project Development Process.

Scoping Decision Document

A Scoping Decision Document (SDD) is required by the state Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. The scoping decision document is used before preparing an EIS to refine the scope of the EIS, identify potential significant issues relevant to the project, and define the alternatives for the EIS. Public involvement is important in developing the SDD including a formal public review of the Draft Scoping Decision Document.

For more information on scoping decision documents, visit Highway Project Development Process.