4th Street and I-35W interchange
The project includes the construction of a new entrance ramp from 4th Street South to northbound I-35W, including a new eastbound to northbound double left turn lane from 4th Street South. The new ramp will enter mainline I-35W into a modified lane accomplished by reducing the highway 55 entrance to northbound I-35W from two lanes to one, thus allowing the other lane to be used by traffic from the new I-35W entrance ramp from 4th Street South. The new construction on 4th Street South will connect to the roadway improvements to the east constructed for the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit project.
I-35W auxiliary lane
The project provides an auxiliary traffic lane from University Avenue SE to the Stinson Boulevard northeast exit. Auxiliary lanes are located at the outer edge of the roadway for use in speed change, lane weaving, maneuvering of entering and exiting traffic, truck climbing, and other purposes supplementary to through traffic. Auxiliary lanes generally extend from one entrance ramp to an exit ramp and allow drivers more decision time to make maneuvers onto or off of the freeway. In general terms, one can think of an auxiliary lane as a place that allows drivers to enter the freeway directly into a temporary lane and/or exit in a temporary lane with more decision time than a traditional ramp connection.
The auxiliary lane proposed for this project requires some pavement widening and as a result, retaining walls. Shoulder areas will be reduced due to right of way constraints. The additional lane improves the ability to provide, and does not preclude, a future managed lane on northbound I-35W such as a HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane or MnPass lane.
The project proposes consolidation of northbound exit ramps directly connected to I-35W on the north end of the project. Today there are two ramps. The first northbound I-35W exit ramp on the north end of the project after crossing under the Hennepin Avenue bridge is the joint Stinson Boulevard/New Brighton Boulevard exit ramp. The second northbound 35W exit ramp after crossing under the Hennepin Avenue bridge is the Johnson Street NE exit ramp. To minimize impervious surface and reduce confusion in the area while accommodating adequate sightlines for the various existing exits, the project proposes removing approximately the first 2,700 feet of the first exit ramp and combining the remaining portion of the first exit ramp with the Johnson Street NE exit ramp. Under the proposed layout drivers would still have the ability to exit directly to Johnson Street, New Brighton Boulevard, or Stinson Boulevard.
During July, August, September and October 2013 voting was conducted per MnDOT policy for the six proposed noise walls. Based on the voting results, Noise Wall L, on the west side of I-35W between Broadway Street NE and Johnson Street NE, is the only noise wall that will be constructed as part of this project. Additional noise wall information can be found on MnDOT’s project page.