'Rethinking I-94' aims for improvements

The Minnesota Department of Transportation recently started a long-term study on how to improve the portion of 94 that connects Minneapolis and St. Paul. http://kare11.tv/2sPyTNN

MINNEAPOLIS - If you drive I-94, you know the sometimes frustrating trip.

Which is why the Minnesota Department of Transportation recently started a long-term study on how to improve the portion of 94 that connects Minneapolis and St. Paul.

"So from Broadway in north Minneapolis to Highway 61 on the east side of St. Paul,” said Brian Isaacson, MnDOT’s I-94 project director. "It's an important piece of how the cities function together.”

13 miles in all.

"There's a few hundred thousand people who live along it. There's probably on average around 150,000 vehicles a day on it,” he said.

That’s why they’re asking for people’s input in a series of workshops. The next one is Wednesday, June 28, from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis, which is at 420 15th Ave S., Minneapolis.

It includes the vexing Lowry Tunnel that often times is backed up, not just when it’s under construction, which is happening right now.

"It's a really tough issue,” he said.

If this sounds familiar, it is. KARE 11 profiled the tunnel and a study that talked about potential improvements to it 10 years ago.

Yet nothing really has changed. MnDOT says the 2007 study recommended conceptual fixes, nothing concrete.

But officials point to the lack of progress for the lack of resources, and the fact there is no easy solution for a tunnel built in the 1960s. 394 didn't even come along until 20 years later.

"I honestly don't know,” said Isaacson about the fix. “Whatever it is. It is likely not going to be a small cost."

It is one reason why MnDOT is asking people to share their experiences and concerns about the Lowry Tunnel and everything else drivers encounter on the I-94 stretch between Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Isaacson says improvements on the 13-mile I-94 stretch won't be competed for 20-plus years.

“That's the challenge that lays ahead of us," he said. "It's about that balance of resources but also impact."

For more information about the Rethinking I-94 project click here.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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