Smith seeks to ease traffic at I-35W and I-494
The Twin Cities intersection was created in the 1950s and since then there have been few improvements. Experts estimate that approximately 290,000 vehicles create a traffic jam at this intersection on a daily basis, amounting to approximately one-fifth of the traffic that the Twin Cities Metro Area experiences daily. The intersection is congested for up to 25 hours each week.
The Federal Highway Administration has ranked the intersection “the 19th-worst bottleneck in the nation.”
“Hundreds of thousands of people drive through this interchange every day on their way to work or school, and back again,” Smith said. “Nearly all of those Minnesotans needlessly waste hours of their time every week stuck inching through bumper-to-bumper traffic. The time for admiring this problem is over. It is time to roll up our sleeves and do something about it.”
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has plans to fix the intersection but first the legislature must gain approval from Gov. Mark Dayton’s transportation infrastructure funds. The governor’s investment proposal will be key to improving this and similar intersections, making the interchange safer, decreasing traffic jams, and creating alternate routes for commuters.