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I-494 Improvements to Begin This Summer

MnDot will present its plans to the Richfield City Council Tuesday night.

Interstate 494’s stretch between Richfield, Bloomington and Edina is arguably one of the biggest headaches for Twin Cities commuters.

Fortunately, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) plans to ease traffic congestion through multiple improvement projects—including the construction of two auxiliary lanes—beginning in Summer 2012. MnDOT anticipates the total cost to be $30 million.

A MnDOT representative is presenting the plans to the and city staff Tuesday night. A special session is at 6 p.m. in the Bartholomew Conference Room at .

Lanes and Bridges

Construction begins this summer on two westbound auxiliary lanes—one running between Portland and Nicollet Avenues and another between I-35W and France Avenue. During the construction of the auxiliary lanes, the Portland Avenue ramp and many other connections to I-494 will alternately be closed.

Like the Lyndale and Penn avenue bridges, the Xerxes Avenue Bridge is widening, to up to six lanes, to accommodate growing traffic. The bridge will be removed during construction of the auxiliary lanes, and MnDOT anticipates the bridge to be complete in the spring or summer of 2013.

Other Projects

MnDOT will also:

  • Construct a soundwall (if necessary) along the north side of the interstate, between Penn and Xerxes avenues;
  • Replace the center median guardrail with a concrete median;
  • Resurface the interstate in both directions from 34th Avenue and Highway 100.

A more detailed schedule for construction and closure dates is expected in the early spring.

Mike McLean January 10, 2012 at 01:22 PM
It will be interesting to see the plans. I had heard years ago that their plan was to make 494 work like 394 in St Louis Park where you could not exit directly from 394 to cross streets but instead had to exit to feeder lanes which would exit to the cross streets. Several years ago I was looking out of our office window on France and 494 at the traffic. I jokingly made a comment that what we need is light rail transit on 494. About a week later I received an email from one of our state representatives proudly announcing that he had submitted a bill in order to study the feasibility of putting lrt on 494. I hope that boondoggle will not be considered!!!
Chuck Abrams January 10, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Many of the bridges over 494 need to be replaced. While inconvenient, I look forward to them being finished.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM
@Mike. That's interesting. I haven't heard anything about making it like 394 and I don't know how possible it would be - but that's just my opinion. I think the main goal is to work with what they got. The existing roadway is what it is and MnDOT trying to work with space constraints. @Chuck, I'm sure other bridges are on the books for the coming years. Seems as if they are working their way out!
Joe Hoover January 10, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Interesting. Here is the link. Most likely it would be put on American Blvd or 77th Street. It would actually not be a bad idea given the amount of traffic congestion on 494. https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/revisor/pages/search_status/status_description.php?f=SF0378&ls=85
Mike McLean January 10, 2012 at 08:29 PM
There had also been conversations about removing exit and entrance ramps from Nicollet and 494. Back when they were redoing the 35/494 bridge, I thought I saw something about the 394 like approach. They said that if you were heading South on 35 and turned West onto 494, you would not be able to exit directly onto Penn. We'll just have to wait and see how they invest our money.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) January 11, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Huh. Well, the auxiliary lane project between 35W and France will call for the replacement of all the ramps, but I don't know how they would restrict access to Penn Avenue from those getting on 494 from 35S and not disrupt those who are already traveling on 494 west - but I don't claim to be an engineer! This should be interesting.

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