MnDOT Study Reveals Candidates for Potential MnPASS Lanes

October 09, 2017 10:41 PM

The Minnesota Department of Transportation last week released a report that showed nearly 24 percent of Twin Cities freeways are congested. 

That means traffic, on average, is flowing at 45 miles an hour or slower. 


Brad Larsen is a MnDOT transportation planner and leads the effort to figure out how to help unclog traffic.

Get the latest traffic updates here

"We are generally focused on which corridors have the highest transit demand," Larsen said.

On Monday, Larsen shared MnDOT's vision for updating the MnPASS master plan with members of the Metropolitan Council. A study identified which stretches of pavement are under consideration for possible MnPASS lanes. 

RELATED: Latest Study Shows Nominal Uptick in Twin Cities Freeway Congestion

Topping the list is Highway 252 in Brooklyn Park, which is the source of frustration for tens of thousands of drivers forced to contend with stop light after stop light along the way.

If MnPASS lanes were added in the north metro community, it would cost an estimated $140 million, according to the study.  However, it's estimated the new lanes would save commuters nearly 40 percent in travel time because a single MnPASS lane can carry twice as many drivers as a regular lane. Larsen said that amounts to 1,186 hours saved on the road per person, per year.  

But before that can happen, Highway 252 must be converted into a freeway, in which roads are separated from crossing traffic and can only be accessed by ramps. The much-maligned intersections on 252 would be replaced with interchanges. 

That measure appeals to Brooklyn Park resident Jasmine Clopton. 

"I'd like to see how it would work out, because traffic just keeps getting worse," Clopton said.

RELATED: Study: State Government to Blame for Twin Cities Congestion

However, another local motorist, Patricia Naylor, wasn't a fan of the MnPASS plan. "I would take the back roads before I would pay for that."

The MnDOT study evaluated 34 roads in the metro. In addition to Highway 252, Interstate 494 from Eden Prairie to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport was another contender. The final report is expected to be released by the end of October. 


Beth McDonough

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