Alternatives

Overview

Rethinking I-94 reached an important milestone in July, alternatives were released to the public. Alternatives at this stage are a combination of highway and transit ideas that reflect the basic design and number of lanes of the roadway, the type of transit service provided, and potential transit stop locations. The alternatives are high-level, meaning that more details will be developed as feedback is received and additional technical information is gathered.

There is not a preferred alternative at this time. The current alternatives are draft and will be refined as the project progresses and we learn more information and receive input and feedback from the community. At this stage, we are attempting to understand what alternatives best serve the transportation needs of the surrounding communities and businesses, as well as others that use I-94 as part of their travel.

While the current graphics give a general idea of what the roadway would be, there will be some variations based on location and space available for construction. For example, today there are frontage roads in some areas next to the freeway and in some locations there are not.

The graphics are intended for conceptual purposes only and are not to be interpreted as showing actual scale or final design for the roadway. The graphics are intended to show the number of travel lanes and transit options. They only represent a small section of the corridor. Changes to overpasses, intersections/interchanges, ramps, frontage roads, and parking have not been determined and no landscaping or corridor enhancements have been identified. Details on these improvements will be identified later in the process.

Public engagement

From June to November of 2023, MnDOT hosted in-person and virtual public meetings, conducted an online survey, met with partners, community-based organizations and other key stakeholders, and attended multiple community events to collect public feedback on the alternatives. Feedback received during this time period will be used to refine and further develop alternatives. You can review a summary of the public engagement efforts that took place following the release of the alternatives. A formal public comment period is expected to be announced later in 2024. You can still review the alternatives and share your thoughts by reaching out directly to us at rethinkingI94project.dot@state.mn.us.  



General Maintenance, Maintenance – A, and Maintenance – B

General Maintenance (No Build): I-94 would remain as is. Existing transit service would continue.

Maintenance A: Maintain the existing infrastructure. Existing transit service would continue.

Maintenance B: Replace the existing infrastructure to current standards with consistent shoulders. This would allow transit to run on bus shoulders between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.


Graphic showing General Maintenance, Maintenance A and Maintenance B design alternative. General Maintenance, Maintenance - A, and Maintenance - B


Roadway type: Keeps a freeway with the same number of travel lanes.

Number of travel lanes: No changes from existing. Varies between three and four lanes in both directions.

Transit: No change from current service (Route 94 express bus). Maintenance B would extend bus shoulders to match conditions prior to I-35W bridge collapse.

Access changes: No changes from existing.

Pedestrian and bicycle: No major changes from existing. All crossings of I-94 would be a bridge – either pedestrian/bicycle-only or a roadway with pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities (such as a trail, sidewalk, or bike lanes). With Maintenance B, some new/improved facilities could be provided if bridges are replaced.


General Maintenance, Maintenance A

  • The freeway would not be reconstructed. Maintenance A would allow for more in-depth maintenance activities.
  • The overall number of lanes would not change. Currently the number of general purpose lanes varies between 3 and 4 in both directions.
  • Existing express bus transit service (Metro Transit Route 94) would continue.
  • No changes to pedestrian or bicycle facilities.
  • No changes to interchanges or ramps along the freeway.

Maintenance B

  • The freeway would be reconstructed with the same number of lanes.
  • Existing express bus transit service (Metro Transit Route 94) would continue. Current bus shoulders would be extended to connect downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.
  • Some new/improved pedestrian or bicycle facilities could be provided if bridges are replaced.
  • No changes to interchanges or ramps along the freeway.

At-Grade – A

This concept involves the removal of the existing freeway, filling in the corridor, and constructing a new at-grade roadway. It also features dedicated bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes in the center with three stops.


Roadway type: Removes the freeway (and Interstate designation within project area). Constructs at-grade roadway in same location.

Number of travel lanes: 2 lanes in each direction for all vehicles and 1 dedicated bus rapid transit (BRT) lane in each direction in the center of the roadway.

Transit: BRT in dedicated lanes in the center of the roadway with 3 stops (Locations to be determined).

Access changes: Current interchanges, on/off ramp locations, and other bridges and underpasses would be converted to intersections with the new roadway (intersection designs to be determined). Some bridges for cross traffic may remain due to the elevations of existing roadways. Frontage roads/side streets may be modified or removed.

Pedestrian and bicycle: Most crossings would be “at-grade” (people would use crosswalks to get across the lanes of traffic) because current bridges and underpasses would be converted to intersections. Pedestrian/bicycle bridges over the road may be possible in some areas. Potential to include pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities (such as a trail, sidewalk, or bike lanes) along the north and/or south sides of the new roadway. Specific changes are to be determined.


Graphic showing At Grade A design alternative. At-Grade - A


  • The freeway would be removed and replaced with a road that would have 2 lanes for all vehicles and 1 dedicated transit lane (for buses only) in both directions.
  • The overall number of lanes is reduced in some areas of the project corridor. Currently the number of general purpose lanes varies between 3 and 4 in both directions.
  • Transit will operate in the dedicated lanes in the center of the roadway.
  • There would likely be a mix of at-grade pedestrian and bicycle crossings (people would use crosswalks to get across the lanes of traffic) and pedestrian/bicycle bridges depending on the location.
  • New pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities are possible.
  • Current interchanges and most crossing locations would be converted to intersections.
  • In some locations a bridge for railroad crossings, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, or local roadways may remain due to the terrain.
  • Current frontage roads/side streets may be removed or incorporated into the at-grade design.

At-Grade – B

This concept involves the removal of the existing freeway, filling in the corridor, and constructing a new at-grade roadway. It also features dedicated bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes on the outside of the roadway with three stops.


Roadway type: Removes the freeway (and Interstate designation within project area). Constructs at-grade roadway in same location.

Number of travel lanes: 2 lanes in each direction for all vehicles and 1 dedicated bus rapid transit (BRT) lane in each direction on the outside of the roadway.

Transit: BRT in dedicated lanes on the outside of the roadway with 3 stops (Locations to be determined).

Access changes: Current interchanges, on/off ramp locations, and other bridges and underpasses would be converted to intersections with the new roadway (intersection designs to be determined). Some bridges for cross traffic may remain due to the elevations of existing roadways. Frontage roads/side streets may be modified or removed.

Pedestrian and bicycle: Most crossings would be “at-grade” (people would use crosswalks to get across the lanes of traffic) because current bridges and underpasses would be converted to intersections. Pedestrian/bicycle bridges over the road may be possible in some areas. Potential to include pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities (such as a trail, sidewalk, or bike lanes) along the north and/or south sides of the new roadway. Specific changes are to be determined.


Graphic showing At Grade B design alternative. At-Grade - B


  • The freeway would be removed and replaced with a road that would have 2 lanes for all vehicles and 1 dedicated transit lane (for buses only) in both directions.
  • The overall number of lanes is reduced in some areas of the project corridor. Currently the number of general purpose lanes varies between 3 and 4 in both directions.
  • Transit will operate in the dedicated lanes on the outside of the roadway.
  • There would likely be a mix of at-grade pedestrian and bicycle crossings (people would use crosswalks to get across the lanes of traffic) and pedestrian/bicycle bridges depending on the location.
  • New pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities are possible.
  • Current interchanges and most crossing locations would be converted to intersections.
  • In some locations a bridge for railroad crossings, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, or local roadways may remain due to the terrain.
  • Current frontage roads/side streets may be removed or incorporated into the at-grade design.

Local/Regional Roadways – A

This concept features a separation into two roadway systems, providing a separate local traffic roadway and freeway space for through trips. The local system provides transportation options for local traffic, while the regional system offers limited access for regional traffic and includes transit on the shoulder.


Roadway type: Keeps a reduced size freeway. Constructs local roadways on both sides.

Number of travel lanes: Freeway: 2 lanes in each direction for all vehicles and 1 bus shoulder with BRT in each direction. Local Roadways: 1 lane in each direction for all vehicles (on both sides of freeway).

Transit: Transit in bus shoulders on the freeway (Stop locations to be determined). Local bus route changes to be determined.

Access changes: Access changes to be determined. Interchanges will be limited and some will be removed. Potential to modify interchanges in some locations including on/off ramp changes or removal. Potential changes to frontage roads/side streets may occur in some locations.

Pedestrian and bicycle: To be determined. All crossings of I-94 would be a bridge – either pedestrian/bicycle-only or a roadway with pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities (such as a trail, sidewalk, or bike lanes). Potential to include pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities on roads that go east-west (like I-94) to the north or south of I-94 since bicyclists and pedestrians are not allowed on Interstate routes.


Graphic showing Local/Regional Roadways A design alternative.Local/Regional Roadways - A

  • The freeway would be reconstructed and narrowed to have 2 general purpose lanes (all vehicles can use) and a bus shoulder in both directions.
  • Two-way local streets will be constructed on each side of the freeway, with speed limits expected to be lower than the freeway.
  • Current frontage roads/side streets may be removed or incorporated into the local roadway design.
  • The overall number of freeway lanes is reduced throughout the project corridor. Currently the number of general purpose lanes varies between 3 and 4 in both directions.
  • Transit will operate in the bus shoulders on the regional system. Local bus route changes to be determined.
  • Current pedestrian facilities would be improved, and additional pedestrian and bicycle crossings will be considered.
  • New pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities along the new local roadways are possible.
  • Current interchanges along the freeway would be modified or removed to improve mobility and safety. Most existing on/off ramps along the freeway would be removed.

Reduced Freeway – A

This concept involves rebuilding the existing freeway to include 2 general purpose lanes and 1 managed lane with bus rapid transit (BRT) in each direction. The BRT system could include up to three stops along the managed lane.


Roadway type: Keeps a freeway. Reduces the number of travel lanes.

Number of travel lanes: 2 lanes in each direction for all vehicles and 1 managed lane in each direction (for buses, people that carpool, and those willing to pay).

Transit: Bus rapid transit (BRT) in managed lanes with no stops; 1 stop at Snelling Ave; or 3 stops at 25th/27th Ave, Snelling Ave, and Dale St (Final locations to be determined).

Access changes: Access changes to be determined. Potential to modify interchanges in some locations including on/off ramp changes or removal. Potential changes to frontage roads/side streets may occur in some locations.

Pedestrian and bicycle: To be determined. All crossings of I-94 would be a bridge – either pedestrian/bicycle-only or a roadway with pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities (such as a trail, sidewalk, or bike lanes). Potential to include pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities on roads that go east-west (like I-94) to the north or south of I-94 (frontage roads) since bicyclists and pedestrians are not allowed on Interstate routes.

  • The freeway would be reconstructed to have 2 general purpose lanes (all vehicles can use) and 1 managed lane (for buses, those that carpool, and those willing to pay) in both directions. Outside of peak hours, managed lanes operate as general purpose lanes.
  • The overall number of lanes is reduced throughout the project corridor. Currently the number of general purpose lanes varies between 3 and 4 in both directions.
  • Transit will operate in the managed lanes.
  • Current pedestrian facilities would be improved, and additional pedestrian and bicycle crossings will be considered.
  • Interchanges and ramps along the freeway would be studied to improve mobility and safety.

Reconfigure Freeway – A

This concept involves rebuilding the existing freeway to include 3 general purpose lanes and 1 managed lane with bus rapid transit (BRT) in each direction. The BRT system could include up to three stops along the managed lane.


Roadway type: Keeps a freeway. Changes the type of travel lanes available.

Number of travel lanes: 3 lanes in each direction for all vehicles and 1 managed lane in each direction (for buses, people that carpool, and those willing to pay).

Transit: Bus rapid transit (BRT) in managed lanes with no stops; 1 stop at Snelling Ave; or 3 stops at 25th/27th Ave, Snelling Ave, and Dale St (Final locations to be determined).

Access changes: Access changes to be determined. Potential to modify interchanges in some locations including on/off ramp changes or removal. Potential changes to frontage roads/side streets may occur in some locations.

Pedestrian and bicycle: To be determined. All crossings of I-94 would be a bridge – either pedestrian/bicycle-only or a roadway with pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities (such as a trail, sidewalk, or bike lanes). Potential to include pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities on roads that go east-west (like I-94) to the north or south of I-94 (frontage roads) since bicyclists and pedestrians are not allowed on Interstate routes.

  • The freeway would be reconstructed to have 3 general purpose lanes (all vehicles can use) and 1 managed lane (for buses, those that carpool, and those willing to pay) in both directions. Outside of peak hours, managed lanes operate as general purpose lanes.
  • The overall number of lanes stays the same throughout the project corridor. Currently the number of general purpose lanes varies between 3 and 4 in both directions.
  • Transit will operate in the managed lanes.
  • Current pedestrian facilities would be improved, and additional pedestrian and bicycle crossings will be considered.
  • Interchanges and ramps along the freeway would be studied to improve mobility and safety.

Expanded Freeway – A

This concept involves rebuilding the existing freeway and adding 1 managed lane with bus rapid transit (BRT) in each direction. The BRT system could include up to three stops along the managed lane. The total number of lanes will vary because the current number of lanes also varies.


Roadway type: Keeps a freeway. Adds a new managed lane.

Number of travel lanes: 3-4 lanes in each direction for all vehicles and 1 managed lane in each direction (for buses, people that carpool, and those willing to pay).

Transit: Bus rapid transit (BRT) in managed lanes with no stops; 1 stop at Snelling Ave; or 3 stops at 25th/27th Ave, Snelling Ave, and Dale St (Final locations to be determined).

Access changes: Access changes to be determined. Potential to modify interchanges in some locations including on/off ramp changes or removal. Potential changes to frontage roads/side streets may occur in some locations.

Pedestrian and bicycle: To be determined. All crossings of I-94 would be a bridge – either pedestrian/bicycle-only or a roadway with pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities (such as a trail, sidewalk, or bike lanes). Potential to include pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities on roads that go east-west (like I-94) to the north or south of I-94 (frontage roads) since bicyclists and pedestrians are not allowed on Interstate routes.

  • The freeway would be reconstructed to have 3-4 general purpose lanes (all vehicles can use) and 1 managed lane (for buses, those that carpool, and those willing to pay) in both directions. The managed lane would be an addition to the current number of lanes. Outside of peak hours, managed lanes operate as general purpose lanes.
  • The overall number of lanes will increase by 1 throughout the project corridor. Currently the number of general purpose lanes varies between 3 and 4 in both directions.
  • Transit will operate in the managed lanes.
  • Current pedestrian facilities would be improved, and additional pedestrian and bicycle crossings will be considered.
  • Interchanges and ramps along the freeway would be studied to improve mobility and safety.

Expanded Freeway – B

This concept involves rebuilding the existing freeway and adding 1 new lane (for all vehicles) and extending the bus shoulder along the entire corridor in each direction. The total number of lanes will increase.


Roadway type: Keeps a freeway. Adds a new lane for all vehicles and extends bus shoulders.

Number of travel lanes: 4-5 lanes in each direction for all vehicles.

Transit: Bus shoulders between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul with 1 stop at Snelling Ave.

Access changes: Access changes to be determined. Potential to modify interchanges in some locations including on/off ramp changes or removal. Potential changes to frontage roads/side streets may occur in some locations.

Pedestrian and bicycle: To be determined. All crossings of I-94 would be a bridge – either pedestrian/bicycle-only or a roadway with pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities (such as a trail, sidewalk, or bike lanes). Potential to include pedestrian and/or bicycle facilities on roads that go east-west (like I-94) to the north or south of I-94 (frontage roads) since bicyclists and pedestrians are not allowed on Interstate routes.



  • The freeway would be reconstructed to have 4-5 general purpose lanes (all vehicles can use) and a consistent shoulder in both directions..
  • The overall number of lanes will increase by 1 throughout the project corridor. Currently the number of general purpose lanes varies between 3 and 4 in both directions.
  • Transit will operate in bus shoulders. Current bus shoulders would be extended to connect downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.
  • Current pedestrian facilities would be improved, and additional pedestrian and bicycle crossings will be considered.
  • Interchanges and ramps along the freeway would be studied to improve mobility and safety.
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