MnDOT crowdsourcing for public input on I-94 redesign

MnDOT is turning to crowdsourcing to get public input on projects impacting communities 15-to-20 years down the road.

Officials say it's the new way of communicating.

"This is more of a bigger picture look, creating the vision, so when the time is right we'll have that community input, that technical information to line up and have some concepts and ideas for projects to prioritize," said Nick Carpenter, a MnDOT official.

The department launched a new interactive map that highlights a corridor near I-94 from Broadway Avenue in Minneapolis to Highway 61 in Saint Paul where a major renovation is planned.

Construction won't begin for at least 10 years, but they want the community engagement now. So MnDOT turned to crowdsourcing for public comment.

One of the reasons they're reaching out to residents so early is to give plenty of notice to homeowners. MnDOT is well aware of what happened decades ago in one neighborhood when it comes to I-94.

Decades ago, more than 600 families in heart of the Rondo neighborhood lost their homes when the interstate was first built.

"A lot of folks who live along the corridor are part of groups who are traditionally represented so we wanted to get in and hear those voices," said Carpenter.

While most people think being a part of a major freeway re-design is fascinating, not all are on board, some saying they'd prefer a more traditional way of public input.

The map just launched Wednesday and already hundreds of people have left anonymous comments. MnDOT says they're highly encouraged already about the feedback.