New I-35E MnPASS lanes open this month; next year’s extension shaped by U of M study

mnpassNew MnPASS Express Lanes will open on I-35E in St. Paul on November 30, according to a press release issued on Monday by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). The new lanes, which run from Cayuga Street to Little Canada Road, are the third set of MnPASS high-occupancy toll lanes in the Twin Cities.

To celebrate the opening, MnPASS account holders can drive in the lanes during peak travel times for free until January 4, 2016.

Next year, MnDOT will begin work extending these lanes north from Little Canada Road to County Road J on I-35E. This decision was based in part on a planning study conducted by U of M researchers at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Led by Lee Munnich and Frank Douma, the U of M research team worked with Parsons Brinckerhoff to evaluate several concepts and provide recommendations for the MnPASS extension. The team’s goal was to provide an option that reduced congestion for all users, including drivers in the general-purpose traffic lanes and transit users.

Based on the recommendations from this study, MnDOT plans to add MnPASS lanes to southbound I-35E between County Road 96 and Little Canada Road; through the I-35E/I-694 commons area, the existing inside lane will be designated as a MnPASS lane during peak periods. There will be no MnPASS lane northbound through the commons area, but a lane will be added north of the interchange from County Road E to County Road J. Construction is expected to begin in March 2016, with the lanes slated to open in late 2016.

For more information, read a recent Catalyst article about the extension project.

Posted in Construction, Infrastructure, Planning, Technology, Transportation research, Urban transportation

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