The City of Minneapolis requested $6,790,000 for a $9,700,000 project (70%) to construct a new westbound I-94 off ramp that will re-orient traffic entering downtown Minneapolis from 5th St. to 7th St. The existing I-94 5th St. off ramp will be repurposed to provide a multi-modal connection between Cedar Riverside neighborhood and the downtown core.
Re-orienting the off-ramp will improve efficiency of downtown Minneapolis' one-way street network. Redirecting traffic will move traffic away from a bottlenecking conflict point with the Hiawatha Light Rail line. In addition to commuter and truck traffic, bus transit lines would be more efficient. The repurposed ramp would greatly improve connections between Cedar Riverside and the downtown area for pedestrians and bikers. Congestion in this area creates back-ups on local streets in all directions, moves traffic onto parallel routes, and generally shuts down the functionality of the street network for hours every weekday.
Economic Development Impacts
Direct tax and job benefits from the project could not be determined due to the project serving a high density developed area. However, the project serves the densest concentration of jobs in the State of Minnesota. Currently the downtown core of Minneapolis employs 133,000 people. It is expected that 144,000 will be employed in the area in 2030. A large share of more than $1 billion in projects the city of Minneapolis approved in 2012 are slated to take place in downtown. The area's largest employers are the Hennepin County Medical Center, the University of Minnesota, Fairview Hospital, and Augsburg College. The new Vikings stadium will also be in the area.