Hiawatha-Lake intersection improvements

Highway 55 and County Road 3 in Minneapolis

Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis are leading a partnership to make improvements to the intersection of Hiawatha Avenue (Highway 55) and Lake Street (County Road 3) in Minneapolis. In its current configuration the Hiawatha/Lake interchange area (Hi-Lake) is a difficult and uncomfortable place for people travelling regardless of mode of transportation.

An extensive reconfiguration project is planned for 2022 which would change the existing single-point diamond intersection design (SPUI) to a more conventional “tight diamond” which would narrow the ramps and remove the sweeping wide left and right turn lanes. The project is being designed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) with the financial participation of Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis and MnDOT.

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Background: a partnership and collaboration with the community

In 2016, Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis completed the phase 1 study in response to concerns about transportation issues at Hi-Lake. This technical study resulted in short-term and longer-term improvement options for all users.

In 2017, the partners engaged in phase 2. This phase included engaging with stakeholders and partnering agencies, as well as gathering community input through a public engagement process. This work led to a draft action plan that prioritized the improvements.

Since the studies were completed, the county and city have been investigating the feasibility of implementing short and longer term improvements. In late 2018, MnDOT offered to provide some financial assistance with the proposed longer term improvements which could be coordinated with their planned paving and bridge rehabilitation work on Hiawatha Avenue that is scheduled for 2022.

Short-term improvements: work expected to begin in 2019

The city and county, with its partners at the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Metro Transit, have developed a plan to make short-term improvements to improve safety for all users while efforts are underway to design the longer-term improvements.

Hennepin County will lead efforts to make the short-term improvements. Current plans propose temporary curb bump-outs and median refuge areas to shorten crossings, adding high visibility crosswalk markings.

Overview of short term improvements at Hi Lake

Overview of short term improvements

Future improvements: building a tight diamond intersection

Future improvements focus on a significant reconfiguration of the interchange to what is called a “tight diamond” design. The changes include simplifying movements for all users and improve traffic operations at Hi-Lake. This would include removing “free-right turn lanes” and realigning the connecting ramps to create more typical 90-degree type intersections.

The more extensive longer-term interchange reconfiguration is estimated to cost approximately $4 to $4.5 million. It will take time to plan and coordinate, as all partners who own or manage land or resources will have to collaborate. MnDOT has agreed to lead the project design and implementation to be coordinated with their 2022 paving and bridge rehabilitation work on Hiawatha Avenue. The city and county have agreed to provide assistance for additional traffic operations analysis and public engagement activities.

Early designs for tight-diamond redesign for Hi-Lake

Early designs for tight-diamond redesign

Public involvement

Future opportunities to learn about the improvements will be listed here.

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