Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

I-35W Managed Lanes Study

Minneapolis to Forest Lake

About this study

This study identified preferred managed lane concepts as well as improvement strategies at locations along the I-35W North corridor. The study investigated the type of managed lane systems, locations and designations of I-35W managed lanes and associated policies.

Study goals:

  • Utilize existing and future infrastructure investments better
  • Increase transit ridership and the use of high occupancy vehicles by providing travel time advantages
  • Provide a choice for commuters during the peak periods
  • Reduce congestion and improve safety along the corridor

Next steps

MnDOT will hire a consultant to assist in developing an Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA is the analysis of the preferred alternatives (the preferred concepts for managed lanes).The EA will build upon work completed by a previous I-35W Managed Lanes Study and will help determine whether the project can be funded and programmed for construction.

The Environmental Assessment will take place in the I-35W area between Hwy 36 in Roseville and Lexington Avenue (County Road 17) in Blaine. The EA will begin in summer 2014 and will likely be complete in January 2016.


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 theĀ MnPASS System Study - Phase II (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.