Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

I-35, I-535, Hwy 53 Twin Ports Interchange

Duluth

About this project

This map shows the location of Twin Ports Interchange improvements in Duluth, which include the reconstruction of the I-35/I-535/Hwy 53 and I-535/Garfield Avenue interchanges, and reconstruction of Hwy 53 to Old Piedmont Ave.
* The I-35/I-535/Hwy 53 Interchange Reconstruction (Component 1) and the Hwy 53 Reconstruction (Component 2) are currently funded with an estimated total project cost of $299 million. The I-535/Garfield Avenue Reconstruction (Component 3) is not currently funded. However, MnDOT is working to reduce project-wide costs, and is seeking other funding sources while designing Component 3 so Component 3 can, potentially, be constructed with Components 1 and 2.

This project will enhance safety by eliminating blind merges and left exits, replace aging infrastructure, and better accommodate freight movements through the interchanges next to the Clure Public Terminal.

Summary of work

Replace 35 bridges and reconstruct I-35/I-535/Hwy 53 interchange to improve safety by:

  • Providing a new conventional design
  • Relocating all exits and entrances to the right side of the roadway
  • Improving merging sight distance and eliminating merge conflicts
  • Eliminating weaving problems near the interchange
  • Providing lane continuity for through I-35 traffic

Freight connection

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Current interchange at I-35, I-535 and Hwy 53

This project will provide direct access for overweight permitted loads.

Interchange traffic count:

    Average annual daily traffic – 80,000

    Heavy commercial average annual daily traffic – 5,320

Provides first- and last-mile connection to the Clure Public Terminal, an intermodal facility with highway, rail and waterway freight connections

Traffic impacts

Click here to see maps showing the traffic staging.

Summer and early-fall 2020

  • I-35 will be reduced to a single lane in each direction between 27th Avenue West and Garfield Avenue.
  • The 27th Avenue West Bridge will be replaced, ramps will remain open, but the bridge will not be open to cross traffic. 
  • The ramps from southbound Hwy 53 to southbound I-35, northbound I-535 to southbound I-35 and northbound I-35 to northbound Hwy 53 will be closed.  
  • Lower Michigan Street will be closed.

Late-fall 2020 (Traffic will remain in this configuration until fall 2021)

  • Southbound I-35 traffic will be moved to Lower Michigan Street in two lanes between Garfield Avenue and 22nd Avenue West and northbound I-35 will be diverted to the existing southbound lanes of I-35.
  • Two lanes of traffic in each direction will be maintained.
  • In addition to the ramps listed above, the ramps from I-35 to I-535 in both directions and the ramp from southbound I-35 to northbound Hwy 53 will close.

Late-fall 2021

  • Both northbound and southbound I-35 traffic will be shifted to the new northbound I-35 lanes and two lanes in each direction will be maintained.
  • The ramps to I-535 will re-open.
  • Hwy 53 and ramps will close.  

Fall 2022

  • All roadways and ramps will open on the final roadway.

Early-summer 2023

  • There will be lane closures for finishing work on I-35.

Detour routes during construction

  • All closed ramps will have official detour routes posted.
  • The major detours will be Hwy 53 detoured to Hwy 194 (Central Entrance and Mesaba Avenue).
  • The I-535 ramps will be detoured to Hwy 2 (Bong Bridge).
  • The I-535 Blatnik Bridge will be accessible via Garfield Avenue during this time.

Project update meetings