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FHWA says no to MnDOT request at 169/494 (but 610 extension gets approved)

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In a nutshell, MnDOT requested a change in the proposed design at the I-494/US 169 interchange, wanting to drop 2 little-used ramps (SB 169 to WB 494 and EB 494 to NB 169) in order to cut $40 million from the project cost and enable it to use stimulus funds to pay for the project.  Their argument was that the two traffic movements are largely handled already by existing US 212.

FHWA, citing its policy of requiring full interchanges along Interstates, said no.

So what is arguably the 4th biggest bottleneck in the Twin Cities area (behind I-35W/MN 62, I-35W/I-494, and the I-94 Lowry Hill Tunnel) once again has its fix delayed.

Instead, MnDOT stimulus funds for the Twin Cities metro will go to an extension of MN 610 (west of US 169 to CSAH 81) and a host of smaller projects.

Revive 755:
So if FHWA is requiring full freeway-freeway interchanges, why is the new Mississippi River Bridge project in St. Louis getting away with so many half freeway-freeway interchanges?  The new I-70/extended I-44 interchange will be the biggest offender of this policy, with no much needed ramps to/from the bridge from/to I-44.

J N Winkler:
Would either project have been a design-build?

Full freeway interchanges, especially in urban areas, seem very important to me. It makes the network more flexible in case of road closures. That little used ramp may become very busy when a nearby road is closed and traffic has to make a detour.

J N Winkler:
It is a real shame that the TH 610 extension is going to be a design-build.  That will make it much harder to get the plans (I am still waiting for plans from the TH 212 design-build).


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