The I-35W North Corridor is one of a number of major radial freeway corridors that connect greater Minnesota and the growing north suburban area to downtown Minneapolis. As the region has grown and more development has occurred, volumes have increased to the point that a number of areas in the corridor experience significant congestion each day. The amount of use and congestion is expected to increase by year 2030 as additional growth and development occurs in communities throughout the corridor.
In addition, many infrastructure elements are nearing the end of their useful life and need replacement. Given the daily congestion levels and operational needs of the corridor, MnDOT has recognized that leveraging preservation and bridge replacement dollars with safety and mobility dollars could substantially increase benefits to corridor users.
Furthermore, MnDOT recently completed the MnPASS System Study - Phase 2 (PDF). This study identified I-35W North corridor, from 3rd/4th Street in Downtown Minneapolis to Hwy 97 in Columbus/Forest Lake area, as a viable candidate for MnPASS lanes and/or a managed corridor. Specifically, the corridor would potentially have increased traveler information and lane controls, increased transit facilities and service, a congestion free choice and High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) advantages.