Interstate 394

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For the route located in Illinois numbered 394, which is built to Interstate standards, see Illinois Route 394.

Interstate 394 marker

Interstate 394
Interstate 394 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Mn/DOT
Length: 9.5 mi[citation needed] (15.3 km)
Existed: 1991 – present
Major junctions
West end: I-494 / US 12 in Minnetonka
 

US 169 in Minnetonka, St. Louis Park
MN 100 in Golden Valley

I-94 in Minneapolis
East end: 3rd and 4th Streets in Minneapolis
Location
Counties: Hennepin
Highway system
  • Minnesota Trunk Highways
MN 371 I-494

Interstate 394 (I-394) is an east–west Interstate Highway spur route in Hennepin County in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It runs for 9.8 miles (15.8 km) from its eastern terminus in downtown Minneapolis to its western terminus at its junction with Interstate 494 in the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka. At its western terminus, the roadway loses its interstate designation but continues as U.S. Highway 12. I-394 serves as the most direct link for commuters and other drivers who are traveling between downtown Minneapolis and parts of the western Minneapolis – Saint Paul metropolitan area.

I-394 maintains at least three lanes in each direction except under the State Highway 100 interchange and also between Interstate 94 and its eastern terminus downtown.

Route description[edit]

Interstate 394 begins on the western side of the Twin Cities in the suburb of Minnetonka, at its interchange with Interstate 494 (exit 19A/19B). From there, I-394 takes a 9.5-mile (15.3 km) course towards downtown Minneapolis where the eastern terminus is at 4th Street North.

Legally, the route of Interstate 394 is defined as unmarked legislative routes 10 and 107 in Minnesota Statutes §§ 161.114(2) and 161.115(38).[1][2] Interstate 394 is not marked with these legislative numbers along the actual highway.

MnPASS toll lanes[edit]

There are two high-occupancy toll (HOT) express lanes at the center of the road. Prior to May 16, 2005, they had been traditional high-occupancy vehicle (HOV, or carpool) lanes, allowing buses, motorcycles, and vehicles with two or more occupants to use them during rush hour periods, while single-occupancy vehicles were not permitted. Now, drivers riding alone can use the lanes at any time, but must have a MnPASS electronic toll collection transponder in order to pay for using the express portions.

Interstate 394 heading eastbound toward downtown Minneapolis. Notice the MnPass toll lane to the left

From Interstate 494 to State Highway 100, the lanes of I-394 are separated from traffic by double white lines. Between State Highway 100 and Interstate 94 near downtown, the two lanes are combined into a reversible expressway in the median that is separated from the eastbound and westbound lanes by a concrete barrier. This segment changes directions to accommodate the traffic flow at different times of day, so in the morning, it is open to downtown-bound eastward flowing traffic, while it is open to westbound traffic in the evening.

A MnPASS electronic transponder is required in order to pay tolls because there are no tollbooths on the roadway. The price varies depending on the time of day and flow of traffic. Lone drivers were previously allowed to use the express lanes in off-peak times, but this is no longer allowed under the new system unless the sign says the cost is "OPEN," meaning free. The decision to make the non-reversible lanes free on off-hours was reached due to complaints about essentially making a four-lane freeway in an area that even on off-hours sorely needed six. Toll rates are expected to generally fall between $1 and $4, with a potential maximum of $8. Off-hours are charged as $0.25 on the reversible lanes and free on the one-way lanes. The white line-separated and reversible expressway sections are priced separately. The lanes are still open free to buses, motorcycles, and cars with 2 or more persons, no matter the time of day, and such vehicles do not require transponders to use the lanes.

Using the express lanes as a lone driver without a transponder during charged periods, or crossing the double white lines will result in a large fine placed upon the driver. To enter and exit properly, vehicles must use an entry point without double white lines. The line rule is true even when the lane is free of charge.

Transponders began to be sold a few weeks before the May 16, 2005 opening date. By June 2005, about 6,500 drivers had signed up for the system.

History[edit]

The construction of Interstate 394 was authorized in 1968. Funding became available after the canceled Interstate 335 freeway project in 1978. Interstate 335 had been planned to be a northern loop around downtown Minneapolis that would have passed through northeast Minneapolis. The money was substituted to the Interstate 394 project. Construction of Interstate 394 occurred mainly in the 1980s, starting at the western terminus in Minnetonka and opening in sections toward downtown Minneapolis throughout the late 1980s. The entire route of Interstate 394 was officially opened in 1991.

A former lane drop of I-394 at the Penn Avenue exit was eliminated in 2000.

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Hennepin County.

Location Mile km Exit Destinations Notes
Minnetonka US 12 west – Wayzata West end of US 12 overlap; westbound exit and eastbound entrance
1A I-494 / Carlson Parkway, Linner Road
1B County 61 (Plymouth Road)
1C Ridgedale Drive No westbound entrance
2 County 73 (Hopkins Crossroad)
St. Louis Park 3 US 169 / General Mills Boulevard
4 Louisiana Avenue
Golden Valley 5 MN 100 / Xenia Avenue, Park Place
Minneapolis 7 County 2 (Penn Avenue)
8A Dunwoody Boulevard, Hennepin Avenue Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
8B I-94 / US 12 east East end of US 12 overlap; eastbound exit and westbound entrance
9A 12th Street North Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
9B 6th Street North – Garage A, Garage B Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
9C 3rd Avenue North, Washington Avenue Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
4th Street North Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing