Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

I-35W Minnesota River Bridge

Bloomington, Burnsville

I-35W Minnesota River Bridge shared-use trail FAQ

Is there a bicycle and pedestrian trail planned on the new I-35W Minnesota River Bridge?

Yes. Crews are constructing a new multiuse trail on the I-35W Minnesota River Bridge between Black Dog Rd. in Burnsville and Lyndale Ave. in Bloomington. The trail is designed to support the existing city trails that lead to the bridge and is expected to open in the fall 2021.

Will the new multiuse bridge trail be out of the floodplain?

Yes. The new bridge trail will be located outside of the floodplain at the same elevation of the bridge.

Will the trail network be maintained within the floodplain?

Yes. The city of Burnsville will maintain the trail network, including areas within the floodplain.

Will there be changes to the existing trails leading up to the new section of trail between Cliff Rd. and Black Dog Rd.?

Yes. Sections of trail impacted by construction will be reconstructed. However, sections of the trail where there are no project impacts will remain as is.

Did MnDOT and the TAC committee consider other trail connections as part of the Minnesota River Bridge project?

Yes. MnDOT and a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) evaluated 10 trail connection options against a wide range of screening criteria, including cost, structure requirements, potential wetland impacts and others. MnDOT and the TAC committee considered a culvert under the Black Dog Rd. interchange, but it was dismissed as an option because the ramps are susceptible to flood events, presenting a safety hazard for trail users. Another option would need to utilize a structure to make up the elevation difference from the river bridge to the boat ramp area along the river shoreline. These trail options were dismissed by MnDOT and the TAC because of the structure costs, including initial construction costs and ongoing maintenance and inspections costs. Once MnDOT and the TAC evaluated and dismissed the multiple options, the preferred connection would be best if it follows Black Dog Rd. ramp.

Why wasn’t the trail between Cliff Rd. and Black Dog Rd. raised out of the floodplain?

There are a number of reasons why the trail reconstruction was not included in the project. The trail did not need to be reconstructed due to the roadway and bridge work, which leaves it outside of the project limits. It’s location within the floodplain brings up concerns with fill in the floodplain and adds permitting requirements which are typically denied. The location next to the Minnesota River Valley National Wildlife Refuge and freeway landfill site make right-of-way acquisition undesirable. The costs to raise the trail via structure (bridge) or retaining wall were not funded. The interaction with the trail and Black Dog Rd. were reviewed and determined that until such time that Black Dog Rd. access is modified, the current configuration of the trail is the most feasible.

Does the new I-35W Minnesota River Bridge eliminate the possibility for future trail updates?

No. The current project would not prohibit future adjustments to the trail. 

How will I get my bicycle across the river if there is flooding?

You will be able to use the METRO Orange line, a 17-Mile bus rapid transit line that will connect Burnsville to Minneapolis along I-35W. This route will have enhanced services and amenities to benefit riders along the I-35W corridor.