Interstate 35W (Minnesota)

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Interstate 35W marker

Interstate 35W

I-35W highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by MnDOT
Length41.778 mi[1] (67.235 km)
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-35 / I-35E in Burnsville
Major intersections
North end I-35 / I-35E in Columbus
CountryUnited States
CountiesDakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka
Highway system
  • Minnesota Trunk Highway System
I-35E MN 36

Interstate 35W (I-35W) is an Interstate Highway in the US state of Minnesota, passing through downtown Minneapolis. It is one of two through routes for I-35 through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the other being I-35E through downtown Saint Paul.

Traveling north, I-35 splits at Burnsville, and the I-35W route runs north for 41 miles (66 km), carrying its own separate sequence of exit numbers. It runs through the city of Minneapolis before rejoining with I-35E to reform I-35 in Columbus near Forest Lake. I-35W supplanted sections of old U.S. Highway 8 (US 8) northeast of Minneapolis and old US 65 south of Minneapolis that have since been removed from the United States Numbered Highway System.

During the early years of the Interstate Highway System, branching Interstates with directional suffixes, such as N, S, E, and W, were common nationwide. On every other Interstate nationwide, these directional suffixes have been phased out by redesignating the suffixed route numbers with a loop or spur route number designation (such as I-270 in Maryland, which was once I-70S) or, in some cases, were assigned a different route number (such as I-76, which was once I-80S). In the case of I-35 in the Twin Cities area, since neither branch is clearly the main route and both branches return to a unified Interstate beyond the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, officials at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) have allowed the suffixes of E and W in Minnesota to remain in the present day. I-35 also splits into I-35E and I-35W in Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas, for similar reasons as the I-35 split in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area.

Route description[edit]

I-35W approaching downtown Minneapolis from the south

The southern terminus of I-35W is at Burnsville, where I-35 splits into I-35E and I-35W. While I-35E takes a northeasterly path into Saint Paul, I-35W heads north into Minneapolis. I-35W maintains a northbound direction in Burnsville with two lanes and adds a third lane at Burnsville Parkway. It then crosses the Minnesota River into Bloomington. At the Bloomington–Richfield city boundary, I-35W has a cloverleaf interchange with I-494 at exits 9A and 9B. I-35W continues northbound into Richfield, where it turns east and joins with Minnesota State Highway 62 (MN 62) for about 0.25 miles (0.40 km) in what is locally known as the Crosstown Commons. I-35W and MN 62 split as two lanes of I-35W turn northbound toward downtown Minneapolis, where it adds back a third lane and then later a fourth and a fifth lane at the 46th Street onramp.

I-35W swerves slightly northeast immediately south of downtown to avoid the Washburn-Fair Oaks Mansion District. Three lanes then split north onto MN 65 (Old US 65), which exits into downtown. The two righthand lanes of I-35W curve a sharp right east where it runs side by side with I-94 and US 52 for less than one mile (1.6 km), allowing drivers to exchange highways. Here, the interchange with I-94/US 52 does not have direct access for southbound I-35W to eastbound I-94/southbound US 52 or westbound I-94/northbound US 52 to northbound I-35W. Drivers must use the Cedar and Washington avenue exits to make these connections. Alternatively, MN 280 provides an expressway link for motorists needing to make these connections.

I-35W completes its eastern loop around downtown, and then crosses the Mississippi River on the St. Anthony Falls Bridge and winds northeast out of Northeast Minneapolis. Here, I-35W passes through industrial areas near the suburbs of St. Anthony, Lauderdale, Roseville, and Arden Hills.

I-35W then meets I-694 in New Brighton and Arden Hills at a cloverleaf interchange at exits 26B and 26C. US 10 joins I-35W one mile (1.6 km) north of the I-35W/I-694 interchange at exit 28A. I-35W and US 10 run concurrently for another one mile (1.6 km) before the latter turns westward in Mounds View and Shoreview at exit 30. I-35W passes next to the former site of the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant and again turns northeastward through the suburbs of Blaine and Lino Lakes. The communities of Lexington and Circle Pines are also nearby throughout this stretch. I-35W then merges with I-35E to reform I-35 at Columbus near Forest Lake.

I-35W carries its own set of exit numbers in the Twin Cities area, while I-35E continues the I-35 exit numbering scheme, which goes between the Iowa state line and the city of Duluth. (The same setup also applies to the other I-35E/I-35W splits in Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas.)

Legally, the route of I-35W is defined as part of unmarked Legislative Route 394 in the Minnesota Statutes § 161.12(2);[2] I-35W is not marked with this legislative number along the actual highway.



I-35W is prone to heavy-rain event flooding in several areas, intersecting both natural habitats, including the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge between Burnsville and Bloomington, and the dense urban areas through the city of Minneapolis. In the great 1965 Minnesota River flood, the highway was underwater in the floodplain wetlands south of the Minnesota River bridge at Burnsville.[3][4] Dikes have been constructed, and the highway has been raised since then.[5] The storm sewer system under I-35W in the urban core of south Minneapolis has also been cited as a place prone to flashfloods during rain events. Improvements continue to be made to this area as part of future projects.[6][7]

Minnesota River crossing[edit]

I-35W Bridge over Minnesota River

When the Minnesota River bridge between Burnsville and Bloomington was completed in 1960, it was two lanes in each direction. I-35W, at the time, only extended as far south as MN 13 in Burnsville. Improvements were made in 1984 to redeck and widen the bridge, but subsoil problems found at the north end resulted in the new lanes being temporarily closed. In 1989, the lanes were opened as high-occupancy vehicle lanes when the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) expanded the north approach to carry the additional traffic.[8][9]

Mississippi River crossing[edit]

On August 1, 2007, the I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River around 6:05 pm CDT, killing 13 people and injuring 145.[10] The metal arch bridge had a length of approximately 1,900 feet (580 m) and a roadway height of over 100 feet (30 m) above the river. The bridge connected Minneapolis southwest of the Mississippi River to the Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood and served residents in the northern suburbs of the metro area.[11][12][13] Because of the collapse of the bridge, I-35W traffic was temporarily detoured through eastbound I-94 to northbound MN 280 where it meets up with I-35W in Roseville.

The replacement I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge was built in less than a year and opened to traffic on September 18, 2008, at 5:00 am CDT, three months ahead of schedule.[14][15][16]

I-35W and Highway 62 Crosstown Commons reconstruction project[edit]

A preconstruction photo of the Crosstown Commons junction. The two left lanes are I-35W northbound, while MN 62 enters via the ramp on the right.

The Crosstown Commons was one of the most congested traffic interchanges in Minnesota. While it is sometimes referred to as an intersection, it is a one-mile (1.6 km) merger or concurrency of I-35W and MN 62. The layout is not a typical intersection: there is only a single level of roadbed and it creates a dogleg in I-35W. This shared right-of-way intersection for I-35W and MN 62 has been a topic of political debate for many years. As originally built, there were only six lanes on the commons, and all drivers merging from one highway to the other are required to change at least one lane as they merge and then diverge again. The name comes from the fact that MN 62 is also known locally as the Crosstown Highway.

The project to improve the interchange began in May 2007 after bids were received in April 2007. The new interchange features three throughlanes for I-35W in both directions, ending at 42nd Street, and two separate throughlanes for MN 62 in each direction, eliminating the need to weave across traffic. The cost of correcting the deficiencies in that short stretch of highway was estimated to be $285 million (equivalent to $404 million in 2023[17]).[18][19]

In 2004, the City of Minneapolis threatened to withhold municipal consent for the project unless new bus lanes and bus stations were included.[20] Lake Street currently has a bus station at grade with I-35W on both sides. Eventually, the project was altered to include the desired additional bus access. The bid was won by the Ames, Lunda, and Schafer consortium for the 2007 cost of $288 million (equivalent to $408 million in 2023[17]). The project included 25 new bridges, 63 lane miles (101 km) of highway, and expanded the total roadway width from six lanes to 12 lanes at Lyndale Avenue. The bridges were cast in Coates and trucked in for onsite erection. The new design includes transit/HOV lanes and was completed in November 2010.[21]

35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown[edit]

The 35W@94 Downtown to Crosstown Project was a construction project to repave and reconfigure I-35W and I-94. The work took place from 15th Street to 43rd Street on I-35W, and I-94 from Portland Avenue to 3rd Avenue in Minneapolis. The project added a southbound entrance at County Road 3 (Lake Street), added a northbound exit to 28th Street, reconstructing and widening frontage roads to accommodate new ramps. HOV lanes using E-ZPass replaced the dynamic shoulder lanes in the center of the freeway. Retaining walls, noise barriers, and bridges being replaced throughout the entirety of the project. The METRO Orange Line uses a new station at Lake Street, and a bus-only transit ramp on 12th Street connecting I-35W to downtown. The entire project was completed in September 2021.[22]


The METRO Orange Line bus rapid transitway runs from the southern suburb of Burnsville to downtown Minneapolis on I-35W, passing through Bloomington, and Richfield.[23][24] It uses HOV lanes and a transit ramp into downtown Minneapolis.

Exit list[edit]

I-35 south / I-35E
I-35W south and I-35E south merge into I-35; no access to I-35E from I-35W; I-35 north exit 88A
0.6030.9701 CSAH 42 / Crystal Lake RoadSouthbound exit and northbound entrance; access to M Health Fairview
2.3283.7472Burnsville Parkway
3 MN 13 – ShakopeeSigned as exits 3A (north) and 3B (south); access to Burnsville Heart of the City station
4A CSAH 5 / CSAH 32 (Cliff Road)
4BBlack Dog Road
5106th Street
6.23610.0366 CSAH 1 (98th Street)
6.76610.8897A94th Street
7.29911.7477B90th Street
8.29413.348882nd Street
BloomingtonRichfield line8.747–
9 I-494 / MN 5 – MSP AirportSigned as exits 9A (east) and 9B (west); I-494 exit 5
Richfield9.00814.4979C76th StreetSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
10 CSAH 53 (66th Street)
RichfieldMinneapolis line10.417–
11 MN 62 (Crosstown Highway) / CSAH 35 (Portland Avenue) / 58th Street / 60th Street58th Street not signed southbound; 60th Street and CSAH 35 (Portland Avenue) not signed northbound; access to 58th Street via MN 121
11ALyndale AvenueClosed, now part of reconstructed MN 62 (Crosstown Highway) interchange; was southbound exit and northbound entrance
12A60th StreetClosed, now part of exit 11 SB; was southbound exit and northbound entrance
12.51820.14612Diamond Lake RoadNo southbound entrance
I-35W & 46th Street stationBuses only; left exits
13.63221.93913 CSAH 46 (46th Street)
1436th Street / 35th Street
15A CSAH 3 (Lake Street) / 31st StreetNo northbound entrance
I-35W & Lake Street stationBuses only; left exits
15B28th StreetNorthbound exit only

I-94 west / US 12 west / US 52 north / MN 55 west – Downtown exits
Northbound exit and southbound entrance; downtown exits via old MN 65; provides access to 5th Avenue South, 11th Street, and East Grant Street
5th AvenueNorthbound entrance only

I-94 east / US 12 west / US 52 south – Saint Paul
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
MN 55 east (Hiawatha Avenue)
Southbound exit and northbound entrance

I-94 west / US 12 west / US 52 north / MN 55 east / 11th Avenue
Southbound exit and northbound entrance
17C CSAH 122 (3rd Street) / CSAH 152 (Washington Avenue) – University of MinnesotaSigned as "3rd St – U of M" northbound and "Washington Ave" southbound
St. Anthony Falls Bridge over the Mississippi River
18 CSAH 36 (University Avenue) / 4th Street SE
19 CSAH 52 (East Hennepin Avenue)Northbound exit and southbound entrance
I-335Canceled in 1978; former stub ramps
20 CSAH 27 (Stinson Boulevard) / CSAH 88 (New Brighton Boulevard)
To MN 280 / Industrial Boulevard / St. Anthony Boulevard
22A MN 280Southbound exit and northbound entrance
22B MN 36 / Cleveland Avenue
23 CSAH 23 (County Road C) / CSAH 46 (Cleveland Avenue)
RosevilleNew Brighton line24.57839.55424A CSAH 19 (County Road D)
New Brighton24.92040.10524B CSAH 88Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Arden HillsNew Brighton line26.09041.98826A CSAH 46 (County Road E2) / CSAH 73
26 I-694Signed as exits 26B (east) and 26C (west); I-694 exit 41
27.59444.40827 CSAH 96Diverging Diamond Interchange
Arden HillsMounds View line28.250–
US 10 east – Saint Paul
South end of US 10 overlap; southbound exit and northbound entrance
28B CSAH 10Northbound exit and southbound entrance

To CSAH 10 / CSAH 9 (County Road H)
No southbound entrance
Arden HillsMounds View
Shoreview tripoint
29 CSAH 3 (County Road I)No northbound entrance
ShoreviewMounds View line30.13448.49630
US 10 west – Anoka
North end of US 10 overlap
county line
ShoreviewMounds View
Blaine tripoint
30.73349.46031A CSAH 32 (85th Avenue NE)Northbound exit and southbound entrance
AnokaBlaine31.00649.89931B CSAH 23 (Lake Drive)Northbound exit and southbound entrance
32.01451.52232 CSAH 52 (95th Avenue NE)
33.60254.07733 CSAH 17 (Lexington Avenue)
Lino Lakes36.51258.76036 CSAH 23 (Lake Drive)
I-35 north / I-35E
I-35W north and I-35E north merge into I-35; no access to I-35E from I-35W; I-35 south exit 127
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Minnesota Department of Transportation (July 2006). "Trunk Highway Log Point Files". Minnesota Department of Transportation.
  2. ^ Minnesota Legislature (2006). "§161.12: Additional Routes Added; Federal Aid". Minnesota Statutes. Saint Paul: Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes.
  3. ^ Weeks, John (2005). "The Bridges and Structures of the Major Rivers of Minneapolis and Saint Paul". Retrieved September 1, 2007.[self-published source]
  4. ^ John Gessner (January 7, 2000). "Burnsville looks back at a rich history". Thisweek Newspapers. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  5. ^ "Flood Damage Reduction: What Minnesota Has Done and Still Needs to Do" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. December 2001. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  6. ^ Minnesota Department of Transportation. "35W/Hwy 62 Reconstruction Project FAQ". Minnesota Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on October 25, 2007.
  7. ^ "Capital Improvement Projects City of Minneapolis Public Works". City of Minneapolis. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  8. ^ Cassano, Dennis (March 17, 1989). "Perpich Orders Study of Closed I-35W Bridge Lanes". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. p. 8B.
  9. ^ Cavanaugh, Patricia (October 2006). "Politics and Freeways: Building the Twin Cities Interstate System" (PDF). University of Minnesota. p. 77. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 9, 2007.
  10. ^ "Remembering the Dead". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
  11. ^ "35W Bridge Collapses over Mississippi River, Cars in the Water". Saint Paul Pioneer Press. August 1, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2007.
  12. ^ "35W bridge over Mississippi collapsed". Saint Paul, MN: KSTP-TV. August 1, 2007. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved August 1, 2007.
  13. ^ "35W Bridge Collapses". Minneapolis: KARE-TV. August 1, 2007. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. Retrieved August 1, 2007.
  14. ^ Minnesota Department of Transportation (September 15, 2008). "Engineer: MnDOT to open I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge to traffic at 5 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18" (Press release). Minnesota Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008.
  15. ^ Olson, Dan (December 17, 2007). "Above-Ground Construction Work Begins on 35W Bridge". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved December 27, 2007.
  16. ^ "Drivers, Businesses Celebrate 35W Bridge Reopening". Minneapolis: WCCO-TV. Associated Press. September 18, 2008. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved September 18, 2008.
  17. ^ a b Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 30, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the MeasuringWorth series.
  18. ^ Minnesota Department of Transportation. "MnDOT Invites Contractors to Bid on I-35W/Crosstown Project" (Press release). Minnesota Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on August 20, 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
  19. ^ Moore, Rick (December 15, 2006). "Freeways and Politics: New Report Examines the Stories Behind the Twin Cities Interstate Freeway System". University of Minnesota. Archived from the original on December 14, 2007.
  20. ^ Blake, Laurie; Olson, Rochelle (August 24, 2004). "I-35W upgrade could be delayed". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.
  21. ^ Olson, Dan (May 15, 2007). "Untangling the infamous Crosstown Commons now underway". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved May 31, 2007.
  22. ^ "35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown". Minnesota Department of Transportation. February 20, 2020. Archived from the original on February 20, 2020. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  23. ^ URS Consulting (April 2004). "I-35W Bus Rapid Transit Study" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 12, 2005. Retrieved September 1, 2007.
  24. ^ Minnesota Department of Transportation. "I-35W B.R.T. Study Page". Minnesota Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on December 3, 2007.

External links[edit]

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