- Bloomington, Edina, Eden Prairie
- Approximate cost $125 million (design and construction)
- Southbound Hwy 169 to westbound I-494 (PDF)
- Eastbound I-494 to northbound Hwy 169 (PDF)
- Full overhead view of traffic on the new configuration (36 MB, WMV file)
- 3D visualizations
How long will this project last?
Work began in fall 2010 (major construction began spring 2011) and was completed in late-November 2012.
If there are no flyover ramps from eastbound I-494 to northbound Hwy 169 or from southbound Hwy 169 to westbound I-494, how can one make those movements?
The frontage road system is now connected as part of this project, giving motorists the option to make those movements. Marth Road to the south and West 78th Street to the north of the interchange now passes beneath Hwy 169 and is connected by the new Washington Ave bridge spanning I-494. By using the frontage road system, those traveling eastbound on I-494 can access northbound Hwy 169 at Valley View Road and those traveling southbound on Hwy 169 can access westbound I-494 by using the ramp from the roundabout at West 78th Street. Motorists may also continue to use Hwy 212 to transition between I-494 and Hwy 169.
Funds were designated for this project back in 2003 but were then used for other projects. Why is this?
Although MnDOT received Bond Advance Program (BAP) funds in the early 2000s and was able to make improvements to Hwy 169 south of the I-494 interchange, the remaining money was not enough to rebuild the entire interchange with I-494, so the remaining money was moved to other high priority needs in the Metro area.
Why weren’t federal funds that Minnesota received in 2009 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) used for this project?
Approximately $170 million in ARRA funds were designated for the Metro area in 2009. At that time, MnDOT was still working with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to have the performance-based design approved for the Hwy 169/I-494 project. The estimated cost of the already approved policy based design was $205-$210 million. Since this would have used all of the ARRA funds and required additional funding, MnDOT, with input from the Met Council, opted to direct the ARRA funds to other, smaller projects Metro-wide and one larger project, the Hwy 610 extension in northwestern Hennepin County.
MnDOT replaced Hwy 169 bridges spanning I-494 in the mid 90s and reconfigured the interchange to what exists today. Were the current congestion problems anticipated at that time?
The work at the I-494 interchange that occurred in the mid-90s was an important interim step toward improving safety in the area at the time, but was never intended to be a final resolution. With the projected traffic growth and the operations of the traffic signals, it was apparent that there would still be congestion until a more comprehensive project (i.e., the current project) could be done. The existing Hwy 169 bridges will be utilized in the current project.
The performance based design, which features six ramps instead of eight, was against FHWA recommendations. Is there a disagreement between the state and federal governments about how many ramps are sufficient?
Though MnDOT and the FHWA disagreed about the performance-based design originally, both recognize that things need to be done differently in the future as funding options decrease. Building infrastructure based on performance and making decisions that are geared towards a low-cost, high-benefit solution are part of the philosophy that will be applied in the future. If it is determined in the future that the other movements/ramps are needed for adequate performance, MnDOT has committed to providing them at that time.