MnDOT looks to add MnPASS lanes to ease traffic on I-494

Some relief may be coming for those commuting on Interstate 494 through Bloomington.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says they’ve identified a real problem on a nine-mile stretch of the interstate from Eden Prairie down to the airport. Now, they believe part of the solution could be to add MnPASS lanes.

“Ultimately, what we want to do is make it easier to travel through there and safer to travel through there,” said Dave Aeikens with MnDOT. “We move a lot of people through MnPASS because we can get buses and car poolers through there and that's the intent, to move more people through the stretch of freeway."

A study concluded last year identified MnPASS lanes as key elements in improving the flow of traffic along the corridor. Thanks to a $134 million state grant, MnDOT looks to do just that.

“The reason this got sped up is because some money came through... it's a lot of money," Aeikens said.

Officials say somewhere between 30-40,000 people pay for the option to drive in the express lanes. But right now, it's only available on stretches of I-394, I-35W and I-35E – making this a large expansion of the program.

The project would likely require adding lanes. It would also include constructing a ramp for northbound I-35W to westbound I-494 traffic.

MNDot is asking for public input through October 12. To take the survey click here.

You can also take the survey in person and learn more about the project September 23 at Open Streets in Minneapolis or on October 6 at the Bloomington Farmers Market.