State transportation officials are continuing to look at several options — including converting a stretch of highway into a freeway — to ease traffic congestion and improve safety between downtown Minneapolis and the northwest metro.
The area of focus is along Interstate 94 between downtown Minneapolis and I-694, and State Highway 252 between I-694 and Highway 610.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation will hold three open house events this month — the first is on Monday — to gather feedback on various ideas.
"We're looking at a number of possible future scenarios for here, including turning Highway 252 into a freeway," said MnDOT communications specialist Kent Barnard. "And we're seriously considering putting MnPASS lanes on both Highway 252 and I-94."
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Currently, traffic heading north on I-94 from Minneapolis toward Brooklyn Park and beyond transitions from the freeway to Highway 252, which has several intersections controlled by traffic signals.
"On Highway 252, there are five intersections in the top 100 Statewide Crash Cost Ranking," Barnard said. "We're also looking at trying to improve mobility on the corridors themselves -- we're trying to reduce some congestion, improve safety for motorists and pedestrians."
The open houses will be held from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on three dates:
Monday, Aug. 5, at Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School, 7020 Dupont Ave., Brooklyn Center
Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center, 5600 85th Ave. North, Brooklyn Park
Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Folwell Recreation Center, 1615 North Dowling Ave., Minneapolis
"We are really looking for the public's input and feedback on the various proposals for the roadways," Barnard said. "We have a number of designs that we're going to be presenting at all three of the meetings, and we want people to come out and take a look at them and let us know what they think."
Barnard said the goal is to complete the preliminary layout done by the end of 2019, with further planning in 2020 and 2021. Tentatively, construction along the corridor could start in 2023.