8 ways MnDOT is trying to reduce traffic congestion in Twin Cities

- Traffic congestion on Twin Cities metro freeways held steady this past year, according to the 2016 Minnesota Department of Transportation congestion report. According the survey, congestion increased just 0.3 percent from 2015 to 2016.

AM RUSH HOUR WORSE, BUT PM LONGER: The MnDOT report found roads are generally more congested between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. than between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. But the report also found the evening periods of congestion last longer.

In releasing its congestion report, MnDOT pointed to eight different projects – five completed and three planned for the future – that aim to reduce traffic congestion in the metro.


A MnPASS Express Lane on Interstate 35E between Cayuga Street in St.  Paul and County Road J in White Bear Lake, completed in 2016.

Additional lanes on Interstate 494 between Maple Grove and Plymouth, completed in 2016, and on Interstate 694 between Rice Street in and Lexington Avenue, complete in fall 2017.

The St. Croix Crossing bridge on Highway 36 between Oak Park Heights and St. Joseph, Wisconsin will carry between 30,000 and 40,000 vehicles each day. The new bridge opened Aug. 2.

Extended acceleration and deceleration lanes on Highway 100 through St. Louis Park , improving traffic flow on Highway 100 and improving safety on local roads. Completed in 2016.

Preserved more than 337 miles of bus shoulders throughout the Twin Cities metro.


A new MnPASS lane on northbound Interstate 35W between Highway 36 in Roseville and Sunset Avenue in Lino Lakes, beginning in 2018.

A bridge and pavement repair project that includes adding lanes to I-494 in South St. Paul to Inver Grove Heights beginning in 2018.

A four-year reconstruction project of the 35W/Lake Street interchange in Minneapolis, and 35W between 43rd Street and 15th Street that includes adding MnPASS lanes, a transit station and additional access to the region. This project started in late summer 2017.

35W SHUTDOWN: Speaking of that 35W project, you should prepare for another full closure of 35W from 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6 to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10 to complete the Franklin Avenue bridge demolition. The ramps to/from 35W will begin to close approximately one hour prior to the highway closure. Drivers will be detoured to Interstate 394, Highway 100 and Highway 62 (Crosstown). 

YOU CAN HELP - ZIPPER MERGE! Friends don't let friends jam the zipper. Zipper merge only works if we ALL do it. So spread the word! Need help? Read this: How to Zipper Merge

WHAT IS CONGESTION? Congestion is defined as freeway traffic flowing at speeds slower than 45 mph and does not include delays that may occur at speeds greater than 45 mph.

HOW DID MNDOT GATHER DATA? MnDOT gets its congestion data through detectors located in the roads and through field observations. For the 2016 congestion report, MnDOT collected data from 3,500 detectors on Twin Cities freeways in October 2016 -- a month that has the most typical traffic patterns.

Read the complete survey at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/rtmc/reports/congestionreport2016.pdf

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