MnDOT plans revamp of I-494 between Hwy. 77 and Hwy. 169

Drivers who travel regularly on I-494 in the south Twin Cities metro are readying for more road construction in the coming years. 

A $273 million project is in the works to revamp the stretch of roadway between the airport and Hwy. 169. 

Between Hwy. 77 and Hwy. 169, a near constant backup is created by the long-outdated clover-leaf interchange at I-35W. 

MnDOT began looking at redesigning it 21 years ago. The current plan is in three parts. 

The biggest upgrade will be taking out the northeast cloverleaf and building a flyover to separate merging. Also, a MnPass lane will be added in each direction between Hwy. 169 and Hwy. 77. Finally, ramps at Nicollet and 12th Avenues will go away entirely, eliminating more merging. 

Portland Avenue’s interchange is being redesigned to better handle the traffic. 

The project was going ahead regardless, but the $60 million in federal grant money announced Tuesday will give MnDOT flexibility. Without it, they said they were considering shrinking some of the elements. 

The project will begin in two years.