Interstate 35 in Minnesota

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This article is about the section of Interstate 35 in Minnesota. For the entire length of the highway, see Interstate 35.

Interstate 35 marker

Interstate 35
Interstate 35 highlighted in red
Route information
Defined by MS § 161.12(2)
Maintained by Mn/DOT
Length: 220.46 mi[1] (354.80 km)
Southern section
South end: I-35 towards Des Moines, IA
Major
junctions:
North end: I-35E / I-35W at Burnsville
Northern section
South end: I-35E / I-35W at Columbus
Major
junctions:
North end: MN 61 at Duluth
Location
Counties: Freeborn, Steele, Rice, Scott, Dakota, Anoka, Washington, Chisago, Pine, Carlton, St. Louis
Highway system
  • Minnesota Trunk Highways
MN 34 I-35E

In the U.S. state of Minnesota, Interstate 35 (I-35) is a highway in southeast, east-central, and northeast Minnesota. The route runs north–south from the Iowa state line through the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul; where it splits into Interstates 35E and 35W; and ends in the city of Duluth at its junction with Minnesota State Highway 61. Not including the mileage on I-35E or I-35W, I-35 is 220 miles (350 km) in length.

Route description[edit]

I-35 enters the state from Iowa near Albert Lea. It heads roughly due north towards the Twin Cities, where it splits into I-35E and I-35W. The two halves of I-35 rejoin north of the Twin Cities. From there, I-35 travels north-northeast; south of Duluth, it becomes more northeasterly. The route ends near the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth. The entire route is officially designated the Red Bull Highway, named after the 34th Infantry (Red Bull) Division. Legally, Interstate 35 is defined as Routes 390, 395, and 396 in the Minnesota Statutes § 161.12(2); however, the route is not marked with those numbers. The I-35 legislative route designation and mileposts follow I-35E in the Twin Cities area.

Southern segment[edit]

I-35 enters the state in Freeborn County south of Albert Lea. The first mile northbound contains a rest area and Minnesota welcome center. Shortly after the first exit, for Freeborn County Highway 5 (County 5), there is a sweeping S curve to the northwest and back to the north. The exit for County 13 marks the last exit before Albert Lea. Up to here, the interstate roughly marked the halfway point between U.S. Route 65 (US 65) and US 69. Both US Highways end in Albert Lea.

In Albert Lea, it curves to the northeast and meets US 65, which passes beneath the interstate. US 65 picks up Interstate 35 Business (I-35 Bus.), which follows the US Highway through the city. It then crosses Albert Lea Lake of a pair of one-quarter-mile-long (0.40 km) bridges. It straightens back to the north to meet County 46, which follows the former route of US 16. Shortly after that interchange, it intersects the national northern end of US 65; however, there access to US 65 is limited to the southbound lanes of I-35 and traffic from US 65 can only access the northbound lanes of I-35. At the northeastern edge of Albert Lea, there is an interchange with I-90, which directs traffic to La Crosse, Wisconsin, or Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I-35 continues north through the rolling hills of southern Minnesota. At Clarks Grove, it intersects State Highway 251 (MN 251). Between there and the County 35 exit to Geneva, it passes to the west of Geneva Lake. Just east of Ellendale is an interchange with MN 30. Exit 32, County 4 to Hope, is the last interchange before Owatonna. On the southern edge of Owatonna is an interchange with US 14. As of June 2012, the interchange has been rebuilt as a full cloverleaf interchange; previously, it was a trumpet interchange. US 218 begins at the interchange along US 14. North of County 45, the County 34 exit serves northern Owatonna and provides access to the Owatonna Degner Regional Airport. The County 9 exit serves Clinton Falls and a Cabela's.

Further north, I-35 meets County 12 and County 23 in Medford. Along County 23, which serves as a western frontage road to I-35, lies an outlet mall. Now in Rice County, the interstate approaches Faribault. Exit 55 only serves exiting northbound traffic and entering southbound traffic. MN 60 is the main east–west street through Faribault, and MN 21 provides access to Fairbault from the north of town. MN 21 ends at MN 60; however the road continues south and reconnects to I-35 at exit 55.

North of Faribault, the interstate heads due north before the two directions are briefly separated when they enter a corridor of trees. The route straightens out again and intersects County 1 and MN 19 at diamond interchanges spaced three miles (4.8 km) apart. It briefly enters Scott County where it meets County 2 near Elko New Market. It then enters Dakota County and the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

In southwestern Lakeville, there is a folded diamond interchange with County 70. Right before a partial cloverleaf interchange with County 60, the interstate crosses Marion Lake. Shortly after an interchange with County 5 and County 50 there is a park and ride complex on the northbound side of the interstate. An entrance and exit ramp provide access to the interstate while two entrances from Kendrick Avenue, a frontage road, provide non-interstate access to the complex. After the County 46 interchange, the interstate enters Burnsville. A half diamond interchange, with only northbound exit and southbound entrance ramps, immediately precedes the split. I-35 splits into I-35W and I-35E (signed for Minneapolis and Saint Paul, respectively).

Northern segment[edit]

Interstates 35W and 35E join again at Columbus, near Forest Lake. The route then continues as Interstate 35. In contrast to the rolling terrain of I-35 south of the Twin Cities area, this region is quite flat. This is the Anoka Sand Plain, an area that was formed by outwash under the last glaciers that lay over this area as they melted. This is an extensive region that continues north for another twenty miles (32 km). The urban sprawl of the northern Twin Cities continues along I-35 to North Branch.

In Pine City and Hinckley, there are museums near I-35, the Pine City one at a refurbished fur trading post and interpretive center, and the Hinckley one commemorating the Great Hinckley Forest Fire that occurred in 1894. Motorists who take the I-35 Business Loop through Pine City can experience a quintessential All-American main street.

Between Sandstone and Moose Lake, the landscape around I-35 makes a dramatic change. Exposed granite can be seen at the surface, and the deciduous forest changes to evergreens.

Interstate 35 near downtown Duluth

I-35 climbs Thompson Hill as it approaches the city of Duluth. As the highway enters the city limits at Boundary Avenue, the Saint Louis Bay and Lake Superior are in view. I-35 then descends Thompson Hill into Duluth, with numerous exits. The freeway has an interchange with I-535 / U.S. 53, known locally as the "Can of Worms". The junction features a pair of left exits from I-35, a stoplight, and lane drops over the I-35 bridge. Map and aerial photo

I-35 then proceeds to downtown Duluth. After multiple exits, I-35 leaves the downtown area and follows the Lake Superior shoreline for two miles (3 km) to its national northern terminus at its junction with Highway 61 and 26th Avenue East. At this junction where Interstate 35 ends, Highway 61 begins its route northeast along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

History[edit]

Interstate 35 in Minnesota was authorized as part of the primary interstate network in 1956. It was mostly constructed in the 1960s. The route in Minnesota replaced portions of old U.S. Highway 61 and old U.S. Highway 65.[2]

I-35 was generally constructed along former routes of U.S. 65 south of the Twin Cities and U.S. 61 north of the Twin Cities.

The first section to be constructed (the first Interstate Highway opened in Minnesota) was about 10 miles (16 km) north of Owatonna, immediately west of present day Steele County Road 45 and Rice County Road 45.[2]

By 1961, the section of I-35 around Hinckley and Sandstone was under construction.[2]

Three lanes each way have been constructed on I-35 between the I-35E / I-35W split at Columbus to U.S. Highway 8 at Forest Lake. Three lanes have also been constructed on I-35 northbound at Thompson Hill, right before entering the city of Duluth. Additionally, three lanes have been constructed on I-35 southbound in Duluth at Thompson Hill between Central Avenue and U.S. Highway 2-westbound. Three lanes in each direction have also been constructed on I-35 in Duluth between the Can of Worms interchange (I-535 / U.S. 53) and the Mesaba Avenue interchange.

From November 1971 to October 1987, the national northern terminus for Interstate 35 was its interchange with Mesaba Avenue in Duluth.

The last section of Interstate 35 in Minnesota to be constructed was around downtown Duluth. The I-35 extension to Lake Avenue in Duluth was open to traffic in October 1987. The temporary I-35 extension to 10th Avenue East in Duluth was open to traffic in November 1989. The I-35 extension to its present day junction with 26th Avenue East and Highway 61 in Duluth was open to traffic in October 1992.

Notes[edit]

Interstates 35 and 35E closely parallel U.S. Highway 61 from the city of Saint Paul to the city of Wyoming.

Interstate 35 parallels Chisago County Road 61, State Highway 361, Pine County Road 61, and Carlton County Road 61.

State Highway 23 runs concurrent with Interstate 35 between Hinckley and Sandstone.

Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile km Exit Destinations Notes
Worth Hartland Township I-35 south / Iowa 27 begins Continuation into Iowa
  0.000 0.000 Iowa–Minnesota state line
Freeborn Freeman Township 2.492–
2.522
4.010–
4.059
2 County 5
5.276 8.491 5 County 13 – Twin Lakes, Glenville
Albert Lea 7.987–
7.995
12.854–
12.867
8 I-35 Bus. north / US 65 – Albert Lea, Glenville
11.498 18.504 11 County 46 – Albert Lea
12.560–
12.654
20.213–
20.365
12 I-35 Bus. south / US 65 south – Albert Lea Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Bancroft Township 13.247 21.319 13 I-90 – La Crosse, Sioux Falls Signed as exits 13A (east) and 13B (west)
Clarks Grove 18.745 30.167 18 MN 251 east – Clarks Grove, Hollandale
Geneva Township 22.963 36.955 22 County 35 – Hartland, Geneva
Steele Summit Township 26.640 42.873 26 MN 30 – New Richland, Blooming Prairie
Somerset Township 32.817 52.814 32 County 4 – Hope
Owatonna 39.981 64.343 40 US 14 east / US 218 south – Waseca, Rochester, Austin Former south end of US 14 overlap
41.766 67.216 41 Bridge Street
42.509 68.412 42 County 45 Former north end of US 14 overlap; signed as exits 42A (east) and 42B (west)
43.524–
43.548
70.045–
70.084
43 County 34 (26th Street)
45.520–
45.544
73.257–
73.296
45 County 9 – Clinton Falls
Medford 48.057 77.340 48 County 12 / County 23 – Medford
Rice Faribault 55.590 89.463 55 Faribault Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
56.918 91.601 56 MN 60 – Waterville, Faribault
59.107 95.123 59 MN 21 – Le Center, Faribault
Forest Township 66.696 107.337 66 County 1 – Montgomery, Dundas
Webster Township 69.679 112.137 69 MN 19 – Northfield, New Prague
Scott New Market Township 76.841 123.664 76 County 2 – Elko New Market
Dakota Lakeville 81.842 131.712 81 County 70 – Farmington, Lakeville
84.340 135.732 84 County 60 (185th Street West)
85.509 137.613 85 County 5 / County 50
86.636 139.427 86 County 46
Burnsville 87.824 141.339 87 Crystal Lake Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
88.268 142.054 88A I-35W north – Minneapolis Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
I-35 ends / I-35E north – St. Paul Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
See I-35W and I-35E
Anoka Columbus 127.497 205.187 I-35 begins / I-35E south – St. Paul Southbound exit and northbound entrance only
127 I-35W south – Minneapolis Southbound exit and northbound entrance only
129.467 208.357 129 MN 97 / County 23
Washington Forest Lake 131.773 212.068 131 County 2 – Forest Lake
132.279 212.882 132 US 8 east – Taylors Falls Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
Chisago Wyoming 135.721 218.422 135 US 61 south / County 22 – Wyoming
Stacy 139.983 225.281 139 County 19 – Stacy
Lent Township 143.762 231.363 143 County 17
North Branch 147.928 238.067 147 MN 95 – Cambridge, North Branch
Harris 152.610 245.602 152 County 10 – Harris
Rush City 159.994 257.485 159 County 1 – Rush City
Pine Rock Creek 165.707 266.680 165 MN 70 – Rock Creek, Grantsburg
Pine City 169.567 272.892 169 County 7 – Pine City
171.358 275.774 171 County 11
Mission Creek Township 175.350 282.198 175 County 14 – Beroun
180.400 290.326 180 MN 23 west / County 61 – Mora South end of MN 23 overlap
Hinckley 183.105 294.679 183 MN 48 east / County 61 – Hinckley
Sandstone 191.382 307.999 191 MN 23 east / County 61 – Sandstone North end of MN 23 overlap
Finlayson Township 195.615 314.812 195 MN 18 / MN 23 – Askov, Finlayson
Willow River 205.477 330.683 205 County 43 – Bruno, Willow River
Windemere Township 209.889 337.784 209 County 46 – Sturgeon Lake
Carlton Moose Lake 214.694 345.517 214 MN 73 – Moose Lake
Moose Lake Township 216.080 347.747 216 MN 27 – Moose Lake Southbound exit and northbound entrance only
Barnum 220.637 355.081 220 County 6 – Barnum
Mahtowa Township 227.354 365.891 227 County 4 – Mahtowa, Wrenshall
Twin Lakes Township 235.487 378.980 235 MN 210 – Carlton, Cromwell
Cloquet 237.227 381.780 237 MN 33 – Cloquet, Iron Range
Scanlon 239.204 384.962 239 MN 45 south / County 45 north – Cloquet, Scanlon
Thomson Township 242.157 389.714 242 County 1 – Thomson, Esko
CarltonSt. Louis
county line
ThomsonMidway
township line
245.199–
245.259
394.610–
394.706
245 County 61
St. Louis Midway Township 246.351–
246.396
396.464–
396.536
246 County 13 (Midway Road)
Proctor 249.627 401.736 249 Boundary Avenue, Skyline Parkway
Duluth 250.667 403.409 250 US 2 west – Grand Rapids, Proctor South end of US 2 overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance only
251.229–
251.395
404.314–
404.581
251A Cody Street Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
252.054 405.642 251B MN 23 (Grand Avenue) Southbound exit and northbound entrance
252.419 406.229 252 Central Avenue
253.173 407.442 253A US 2 east / LSCT east (Bong Bridge) – Wisconsin North end of US 2 overlap
253.701 408.292 253B 40th Avenue West
254.845 410.133 254 27th Avenue West
255.395 411.018 255 I-535 south / US 53 (21st Avenue West) – Wisconsin Signed as exits 255A (north) and 255B (south)
256.248–
256.272
412.391–
412.430
256A MN 194 (Mesaba Avenue) / Superior Street Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
256.809–
257.250
413.294–
414.004
256B 5th Avenue West, Lake Avenue
259.062 416.920 258 21st Avenue East Northbound exit and southbound entrance only
259.606 417.795 259 MN 61 / LSCT – North Shore Northbound exit only; northern end of LSCT concurrency
259.639 417.848 LSCT (London Road) / 26th Avenue East At-grade intersection
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

I-35 bridge collapse

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing


Interstate 35
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Iowa
Minnesota Next state:
Terminus