Rethinking I-94 is a long-term process to engage communities that live, work, commute, and play along the corridor to promote effective movement of people and goods and a high quality of life for neighboring communities. MnDOT’s goal is to listen to a wide variety of voices as it considers the future of the corridor. This is the first comprehensive review of I-94 since its construction in the 1960s and is jointly conducted by MnDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Rethinking I-94 looks to enhance connectivity and address identified transportation needs. In doing so, Rethinking I-94 works to ensure residents have a meaningful voice in transportation decisions that affect their lives.
The I-94 Corridor
Communities along the Rethinking I-94 corridor play a critical role in the institutional and cultural fabric of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Culturally diverse and vibrant neighborhoods, such as Cedar Riverside in Minneapolis, are home to and supports 35,000 residents, 1,300 businesses, and 24,000 employees where people from dozens of different ethnicities and languages call home, exist along the entirety of the Rethinking I-94 corridor. The University of Minnesota, as well as six other institutions of higher education, many primary and secondary schools, hospitals, entertainment venues, and major stadiums and arenas are all located in or adjacent to the Rethinking I-94 corridor. The I-94 corridor is one of Minnesota’s most frequently traveled corridors and supports a variety of multimodal transportation needs.
- I-94 plays a critical role in the movement of freight and goods for the Twin Cities metropolitan area with 7.5 miles of roading infrastructure and 4,650 – 6,500 heavy commercial trucks per day.
- I-94 supports 130 express bus stops and 38 limited-stop bus per day as well as between 114,000 and 167,000 vehicles per day.
- I-94 is used by many emergency response organizations such as law enforcement agencies, emergency medical response teams, and hospitals to the community which they serve.
- The sidewalks, pedestrian bridges, and roadway along and across I-94 also support multimodal transportation
- While the corridor currently supports multimodal transportation, Rethinking I-94 will be addressing opportunities to make improvements
Phase I (2016-2018)
A two-year technical research study and supporting engagement activities performed to establish the foundation for future planning and project work.
Public engagement toolkit
The Rethinking I-94 public engagement toolkit (PDF) is an adaptable process that guides MnDOT project teams public engagement.
MnDOT divided the corridor into six zones based on anticipated future design and construction projects. These Zone Profiles feature information about each zone including demographics, survey responses, community organizations and events, local media and elected officials.
Community culture and history overviews
These overviews provide historical and cultural background about key groups of stakeholders along the I-94 corridor, as well as information about broader cultural characteristics of the different groups and their history of engagement on transportation and planning issues in the Twin Cities.
Rethinking I-94 Phase 1 Report
Rethinking I-94 Phase 1 report details two years of technical research and engagement activity centered on the corridor including a wide range of engagement and technical tasks establishing the foundation for future planning and project work.
The environmental process for Rethinking I-94 Phase 2 has three key steps. There will be opportunities for public feedback and comments during each step. Big picture questions must first be answered before more detailed design can be taken to determine what is possible and to make sure that all issues are addressed.
Step One: Scoping (Rethinking I-94 is currently in this step.)
What alternatives and issues will be studied in the Tier 1 EIS?
This process identifies the basic alternatives that will move forward into the next stage of environmental review. We anticipate being in Scoping for the next year. Little detail on alternatives will be developed at this step. For example, the alternatives will have different roadway types, number and type of lanes, and transit service types, but limited details on potential changes to frontage roads, interchanges, or pedestrian and bicycle crossings. The Scoping Document also proposes evaluation criteria for alternatives in the Tier 1 EIS and outlines the level of detail to which each potential social, economic, and environmental issue will be addressed.
Learn more about the Rethinking I-94 alternatives.
Step Two: Tier 1 EIS
What is the overall vision for I-94 and how will it be accomplished? What individual projects are needed to implement that vision?
This step will choose a preferred alternative and determine the footprint, including roadway type (freeway or non-freeway), the number and type of travel lanes, and type of transit and associated stops. This step will also identify potential improvements to interchanges in the project area and locations for pedestrian and bicycle facilities. A corridor visualization will be completed to help identify unique elements of the surrounding communities that could be incorporated into future projects, such as landscaping, bridge designs, transit stop amenities, and more. The Tier 1 EIS follows Scoping and is anticipated to take three to four years to complete.
Step Three: Tier 2 Environmental Documents
What will each potential improvement look like in more detail? What are the potential impacts and how will they be addressed?
The final step in the process is for individual projects that are to be constructed. Greater detail will be provided about interchanges, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, transit stops, landscaping, lighting, noise walls, parking, and other roadway elements. Each project included in the program of projects will require a deeper level of design and the preparation of an individual environmental document. The Tier 2 environmental documents will focus on addressing specific project impacts at individual project locations within the corridor. At this stage, all design details necessary to prepare the projects for construction will be addressed. As designs become more detailed, potential opportunities for improved streetscaping (trees/vegetation, lighting, etc.), public art, and other uses of right of way will be better understood.
The project is in the environmental process phase. The environmental process is an orderly process. We will update the information and materials on this site as we continue through the process.
The documents below were created to help project staff, partners, and the public learn more about the environmental process.
- Agency roles and responsibilities (PDF)
- Essential Elements of the FHWA NEPA Process (PDF)
- Logical Termini (PDF)
- Project Purpose (PDF)
- Evaluation Criteria - Full DRAFT (PDF)
- Evaluation Criteria Summary (PDF)
- Project Goals (PDF)
A two-part documentary about I-94 aired on a local Twin Cities television station in April.
Part One - Interstate 94: A History and Its Impact
This video focuses on the construction of I-94 in the middle of the 20th Century and the affect it had on the communities it bisected.
Part Two - Interstate 94: Today and Tomorrow
This video focuses on the here and now as it relates to I-94 through the Twin Cities, as well as continuing work to engage with communities along the interstate in an effort to develop a comprehensive, community-based vision for the corridor.
Rethinking I-94 video tour
Gloria Jeff presented a video tour of the project for the AASHTO Peer Exchange on Public Engagement in October 2020.
Gloria Jeff presents an introduction to the Livability Framework.