History of the I-35W Access Project

The Infrastructure initiative represents the Partnership’s commitment to create viable transportation options for and within the Phillips community. The Interstate-35W Access Project proposes to provide full and direct access to and from I-35W in the Lake Street area. Current local access to this major artery of our freeway system is limited and has stifled the economic vitality and opportunities in the Phillips neighborhood. 

Preliminary design plans as approved by the Project Advisory Committee
on November 26, 2002 (4MB pdf).


I-35W Access Project documents

Project Summary (20K pdf) 
Project Advisory Committee (20K pdf)
Planning Process (28K pdf) 
Approval Process (40K pdf)
Cost Breakdown (8K pdf)
Preliminary Environmental Assessment Findings for Preferred Alternatives (28K pdf)
What Happens in Detail Design? (8K pdf)
Traffic Projections by Neighborhood (12K pdf)

Mitigations & Enhancement documents

Chapter 1: Introduction (6.4MB pdf)
Chapter 2: Street Character (9.8MB pdf)
Chapter 3: Traffic Management (800K pdf)
Chapter 4: Active Transportation (1.6MB pdf)
Chapter 5: Structures (19MB pdf) 
Chapter 6: Land Use and Urban Design (19MB pdf)
Chapter 7: Preliminary Cost Estimate (350K pdf)
Chapter 8: Final Refinements and Acknowledgments (350K pdf)

In October of 1997, Allina Health System and Abbott Northwestern Hospital co-sponsored a transportation study to obtain viable options to improve accessibility to and from the hospital campuses housed directly in the Phillips Neighborhood, which led to freeway accessibility proposals to be incorporated into the partnership’s infrastructure initiative in 1998. 

In 1998, Congress appropriated $2 million for the design of improved access to and from I-35W, requiring the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Hennepin County, and the City to commit $400,000 to fund the required 20% local match. In July of 2001, Congress passed a Supplemental Appropriations Bill in which Congressman Martin Sabo earmarked another $4.7 million for the I-35W Access Project.

Access improvements are essential to supporting revitalization and growth along Lake Street, including surrounding businesses and residential areas. As this revitalization occurs, all modes of traffic — pedestrian, bicycle, cars, bus transit and commercial truck — are expected to increase. The new access proposals include capacity, transit station and urban design improvements.


Bird’s eye view of the I-35W Access Project area

“Rebuilding the Phillips community requires reconnecting it, its people and its enterprises to the broader economy. That is my vision; that is the vision of the Phillips Partnership. Reconnection is why we are working for better access to and from I-35W, an essential artery of the regional economy.”
     --Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner


Public Involvement

The Project Advisory Committee guides the decision making process and provides community input to project planning. Hennepin County Commissioners appointed committee members representing various neighborhood organizations, business groups, non-profit institutions and economic/environmental groups that will be affected by the work of the project. PAC members recommend the best construction and design options and alternatives to accommodate all interested parties. Based on these recommendations, the Phillips Partnership and Hennepin County will develop proposals to present to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Metropolitan Council for the construction of new access ramps. During a series of public meetings, residents and business owners within project boundaries asked questions and provided feedback on proposed ramp changes and selected preferred alternatives.

Aaron Isaacs of Metro Transit discusses the Project alternatives with an area resident.

Aaron Isaacs of Metro Transit discusses the Project alternatives with an area resident.

PAC members also formed a Mitigation/Enhancement Subcommittee to ensure mitigation and enhancement measures are incorporated into the eventual Project Design Plan. Subcommittee members established a clear set of purposeful goals early on by reviewing and discussing traffic management and calming measures for local streets potentially affected by the I-35W Access Project. Their mission: Create a project that not only ameliorates the adverse impacts caused by the construction of new highway infrastructure but actually enhances the lives of all the people in the community by improving the safety, well being, and cohesion of their neighborhoods.

Street calming is but one of several mitigation and enhancement measures that will be included within the eventual Project design plans. Other potential enhancements include landscaping and public art. Each mitigation and enhancement measure must respond to the requirements established by the Project Advisory Committee that the Access Project serves to enhance the area and improve current neighborhood conditions. Once the Subcommittee identifies proposed calming measures, project technical consultants will analyze them to determine their feasibility. The PAC will then review the Subcommittee’s recommendations and if adopted, these measures will be incorporated into the overall Project Design Plan.