Day four saw the end of our sojourn to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area as it was time to move onward to our next destinations. On this day we traveled along I-94 to Fargo, North Dakota where we hooked up with I-29 north for Grand Forks and a stop near the Canadian border. Fargo remained on the scope as the resting place for day five.

Drivers are afforded panoramic views of the Downtown Minneapolis skyline from the St. Anthony Falls bridge as it continues southwest toward I-94.

Rare instance of a state-named shield stands along side I-94 beyond the Exit 207 interchange with Maple Grove Parkway to Hennepin County 30 (93rd Avenue North).

The final 2.4 miles of the Minnesota 610 freeway are being built between Hennepin County 81 and Interstate 94. Started in Fall 2014, the project will include a wye interchange for movements from MN 610 west to I-94 west and I-94 east to MN 610 east. The existing 101st Avenue overpass spanning I-94 will also be removed due to close proximity of the interchange. A new bridge carrying 105th Avenue will be erected to the north, linking 101st Avenue with Maple Grove Parkway immediately north of a new interchange with MN 610. Scheduled completion of the nearly $80.3 million project is set for Fall 2016.

I-94 west travels under 101st Avenue en route to Rogers. This overpass along with a half-mile stretch of 101st Avenue will be removed to make way for the wye interchange with MN 610.

Bridge supports for the future 105th Avenue overpass take shape near the future partial interchange between MN 610 and I-94 south. 105th Avenue will provide the connection between 101st Avenue and Maple Grove Parkway once the freeway extension is complete.

Another construction project along I-94 occurring between Minnesota 101 and 241 has travel lanes shifted onto the eastbound carriageway. Improvements include widened Crow River spans, an auxiliary lane for eastbound between the two exits, and the addition of a noise wall along the westbound carriageway. This two mile segment should be complete by October 2015.

Beyond the partial diamond interchange with Wright County 19 (Labeaux Avenue) traffic on Interstate 94 west enters the Minnesota Department of Transportation research area. Known as MnROAD, this stretch of freeway is used as a test area for various research materials and pavements, finding ways to improve road and highway longevity, quicker, more efficient construction methods, and figuring out how to have a minimal impact on the environment. In use since 1993, a nearly 3.5-mile segment of westbound carriageway between Exit 201 and Exit 194 is divided into mainline (test track) and bypass. The bypass lanes represent the original westbound carriageway of I-94 prior to construction of the research test area. Testing on the mainline is done periodically, and was open the morning we traveled through the area.

Advance signage on I-94 west of Wright County 19 for the Minnesota DOT research project area.

Preceding the test area, these overhead signals indicate when either the mainline or bypass lanes are open to traffic. On this day all traffic was defaulted onto the mainline test track carriageway.

Traffic flows along the MnROAD research test area in rural Wright County. Periodic changes in pavement line the 3.5-mile stretch of Interstate 94, and include several variations of concrete and asphalt layers.

Minnesota 15 north (Exit 167B) represents the second interchange to serve the city of St. Cloud.

The trunk extends northerly as an expressway with several at-grade crossings and a few interchanges, including a diverging diamond (DDI) at Sterns County 120. Kimball lies 14 miles to the south in lower Sterns County.

Exit 140 to Sterns County 11 directly serves the city of Freeport. Touted as “The city with a smile”, this water tower greets drivers passing by the diamond interchange, and is recognized around the region.

Since a 2012 relocation, Minnesota 27 runs concurrent with Interstate 94 between Exits 114 and 100 in Douglas County between Osakis and Alexandria.

Interstate 94 primarily travels across rolling landscape as it continues through west central Minnesota en route to Fargo. The freeway bends more northerly as it approaches Fergus Falls.

Minnesota 210 west joins I-94 & U.S. 52 (not signed) west and U.S. 59 north at Exit 57 for a brief three mile stint through to Exit 54 near Fergus Falls.

The portion between Carlton and Motley of the 228-mile highway was formerly U.S. 210 until 1970 when that route was decommissioned and resigned as MN 210.

The weather deteriorated into rain as we drove closer to the Moorhead-Fargo area, and continuing for the remainder of the ride through Minnesota and into North Dakota.

Interstate 94 turns almost due west as it approaches the city of Moorhead, located on the Minnesota / North Dakota border and adjacent to Fargo. Moorhead is also home to the only business loop for I-94 in Minnesota. Emanating from Exit 2B (34th Street) I-94 Business Loop heads into central Moorhead where it joins U.S. 10 (Main Avenue) through to Fargo. The duo both culminate at I-94 in West Fargo.

The eastern end of the business loop was relocated in 2010 when 34th Street was extended to meet I-94 at a new interchange (now former Exit 2). As part of this project, the existing interchange with SE Main Avenue (where the business loop met I-94) was removed. Controversy between the City of Moorhead and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) ensued because the city wanted to retain two ramps at the existing Exit 2 while the FHWA denied this request, and as a result, local businesses suffered. In December 2011, the FHWA overturned their previous ruling of the closing and by 2013 a partial interchange had been reconstructed at SE Main Avenue (Exit 2A). A construction project beginning Spring 2016 will see the existing diamond interchange at U.S. 75 (Exit 1A) be replaced with a diverging diamond interchange.

Interstate 94 Business Loop begins at this folded diamond interchange (Exit 2B) with Interstate 94 in Moorhead.

The business loop briefly follows 34th Street using 24th Avenue to make the connection with SE Main Avenue to downtown. Exit 2A serves eastbound I-94 traffic only, connecting with SE Main Avenue, the former terminus of the Moorhead-Fargo business loop.

Motorists leave I-94 west at Exit 1A for U.S. 75 (8th Street) and the center of Moorhead. In Spring 2016 work will commence on converting the current configuration into a diverging diamond, and should last until Summer 2017.

Periods of rain continued on the drive into North Dakota and along Interstate 29 north toward Grand Forks and Pembina near the Canadian border.

Interstate 29 passes by an abandoned rest area beyond Exit 72 (Harwood) and before the Sheyenne River in Cass County. An open rest area and visitors center lies approximately 25 miles ahead near mile marker 99 in Traill County.

Winnipeg, Manitoba debuts at 152 miles out along I-29 north in southern Grand Forks County. Fourteen miles separate the freeway from Grand Forks while Thompson is reached by Grand Forks County 15 west.

With the wet weather subsiding, we ventured into Grand Forks and its counterpart East Grand Forks on the Minnesota side, taking U.S. 81 Business east (32nd Avenue South) and north (Washington Street) to reach the heart of both cities.

DeMers Avenue (former North Dakota 297) crosses over a rail line as 4th Avenue South splits off for Cherry Street. U.S. 2 Business will join DeMers Avenue in Downtown Grand Forks.

U.S. 2 Business crossing the Red River.

Work commenced the week of June 12, 2015 to rehabilitate the Sorlie Bridge linking Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. The 1929-built bridge spans the Red River and carries U.S. 2 Business into neighboring Minnesota. Work is to be completed by end of Fall 2015.

U.S. 2 spans the Red River into North Dakota and Grand Forks on the 1963-built Kennedy Bridge.

An evaluation by MnDOT is currently being studied to determine long-range plans and solutions for the aging crossing linking East Grand Forks to Grand Forks.

Gateway Drive and U.S. 2 prepare to meet U.S. 81 Business northwest of downtown Grand Forks. This erroneous assembly, along with signage at the intersection, still reflect when U.S. 81 followed Washington Street. U.S. 81 was fully moved to I-29 by 1994.

U.S. 81 Business (Washington Street) south trenches under an antiquated overpass carrying a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line on the approach to DeMers Avenue.

This overhead along 4th Avenue South directing traffic to the trumpet interchange with DeMers Avenue ahead was replaced sometime after June 2012.

On the final approach to the Pembina border crossing into Canada lies the historical site of Dumoulin Church and a Métis cemetery.

One last pull-off along Interstate 29 north before the border crossing is for the site of the first known church in the northwest.

Founded in 1818 by Father Josef Severe Dumoulin, the Catholic church became a safe haven for the Métis (combination of the Chippewa, Cree and French) people.1,2 Along with the church, a mission and cemetery were built on the lands adjacent to the church. The mission was forced to close in 1823 when the Hudson Bay Company (fur trade) discovered that the site was south of the 49th Parallel (in the United States, not Canada).3 In 1848, Father Belcourt arrived at Pembina. He rebuilt and operated the church and mission until 1863, when cannon fire from Hatch’s Battalion destroyed it. For over 60 years the site became a source of controversy as the land on which the church and cemetery resided has been cultivated and farmed. In 2001, however, a portion of the land was granted custody to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, who maintain the area in and around the historical, sacred site.1

Historical monument for the site of the Dumoulin Church, mission and Métis cemetery. The actual structure was believed to stand approximately 300 feet east of this marker.

Forty small markers represent the final resting place of those who were were known to be buried at the Métis cemetery at Dumoulin Church.

Leaving Pembina and the Canadian border behind, we wrapped up day four with a return trip southward into the rain once more, winding back up in the Fargo area by way of I-29, North Dakota 200, U.S. 75 and U.S. 10.

North Dakota 200 Alternate comes to an end immediately following the interchange with Interstate 29. ND 200 resumes on its east course from Hillsboro to Halstad, Minnesota, where the multi-state highway joins U.S. 75 south. Traill County 81 continues south to Kelso and beyond.

U.S. 75 south enters the community of Hendrum beyond the split with Minnesota 200 east. This “Historic King of Trails” trailblazer affixed is one of several random shields found along U.S. 75 through Minnesota, displayed in reference to the “King of Trails” routing that was established along the corridor in 1920.

I-94 Business Loop and U.S. 10 west cross over the Red River into Fargo via the Veterans Memorial (Main Avenue) bridge. Completed in 2003, the center of the span features a monument dedicated to the Armed Force branches of the United States.

Day five of our Midwest tour will cover continued travels along the I-29 corridor south from Fargo through to Omaha, Nebraska, including Sioux Falls and Sioux City.


  1. “Turtle Mountain tribal members pray at Metis cemetery”,, May 21, 2008.
  2. Ecclesiastical History, North Dakota section,
  3. Blog post on the “The History of the Pembina Metis Cemetery: Inter-Ethnic Perspectives on a Sacred Site”,, August 7, 2007.