The MIC and MnDOT are engaging stakeholders and the public to define a vision for I-35 that is innovative and realistic, and ensures safety, mobility, resiliency and access for all modes of travel.

Key goals of this project are to identify and prioritize current and future transportation needs from County Road 61 in Midway Township to 26th Avenue East in Duluth, and to develop a long-term plan to address them.

How to participate 

Share your transportation experiences and ideas by:

I-35 Corridor Plan Open House
Date & Time
11/15/2022
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location
401 N 44th Ave W
Duluth, MN 55807
Purpose

Join us for an open house at Denfeld High School on November 15 from 5-7 pm to learn about the project and provide input on a new vision for the interstate.   

Event details:  

Denfeld High School Commons 
401 N 44th Ave W, Duluth MN

Drop in between 5-7 pm on Tuesday, November 15

Can’t make the meeting? Share your transportation experiences and participate in the decision-making process by completing a survey  and adding your ideas to an online comment map on the project website at dsmic.org/i35.

 

 

Stop by the MIC's booth at Downtown Duluth Sidewalk Days!

I-35 Corridor Study Pop Up - Fri 7/15
Date & Time
07/15/2022
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Location
218 West Superior Street
Duluth, MN
Purpose

Learn more about the Duluth Area I-35 Corridor Plan and offer your input – we’re asking the question “What would you change, if you could change one thing, to improve your traveling experience along or across I-35 in Duluth?”

We’ll be located across from the Holiday Center on Superior Street (next to Minnesota Surplus).

Stop by the MIC's booth at Downtown Duluth Sidewalk Days!

I-35 Corridor Study Pop Up - Thu 7/14
Date & Time
07/14/2022
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location
218 West Superior Street
Duluth, MN
Purpose

Learn more about the Duluth Area I-35 Corridor Plan and offer your input – we’re asking the question “What would you change, if you could change one thing, to improve your traveling experience along or across I-35 in Duluth?”

We’ll be located across from the Holiday Center on Superior Street (next to Minnesota Surplus).

Stop by the MIC's booth at Downtown Duluth Sidewalk Days!

I-35 Corridor Study Pop Up - Wed 7/13
Date & Time
07/13/2022
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Location
218 West Superior Street
Duluth, MN
Purpose

Learn more about the Duluth Area I-35 Corridor Plan and offer your input – we’re asking the question “What would you change, if you could change one thing, to improve your traveling experience along or across I-35 in Duluth?”

We’ll be located across from the Holiday Center on Superior Street (next to Minnesota Surplus).

Background Nearly 29,000 people live within ½ mile of the 14-mile section of I-35. The section includes 16 interchanges and 30 intersections. Three distinct segments existing within the study section:Rural – Midway Township to Cody Street. I-35 in this segment is mostly surrounded by undeveloped land with pockets of development at and near access points.Urban – from Cody Street to Garfield Avenue. I-35 in this segment is surrounded by low- to mid density residential, commercial, and industrial land uses.Downtown – from Garfield Avenue to 26th Avenue East. I-35 in this segment passes the Duluth central business district with increased residential and business density before density begins to decrease on eastern end.The plan will build on past studies including: 

  • Downtown Duluth Modal Connections Study
  • Connections 2040
  • Sustainable Choices 2045
  • I-35 Bayfront Traffic Modeling & Event Traffic Control Plan
  • 5th Avenue Bridge Planning Study
  • Proctor Transportation Plan
  • DTA Better Bus Blueprint
  • Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Pedestrian Plan
  • Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Bikeways Plan
  • MnDOT District 1 Freight Plan
  • Duluth Waterfront Collective

Context 

I-35 in Duluth serves/served many roles including as a disruptor, divider, segregator, connector, resource, and opportunity.

Likely barriers in rural subarea 

  • Lack of density for efficient transportation and utilities 
  • Challenging topography that makes development either expensive or infeasible 
  • Land use policies or protections 

Likely barriers in urban subarea 

  • Challenging geography, geology, and weather 
  • Limited stock of flat, greenfield sites 
  • Land use policies or protections 

Likely barriers in downtown subarea 

  • Challenging geography, geology, and weather 
  • Challenging topography that makes development either expensive or infeasible 
  • Limited stock of flat, greenfield sites 
  • Land use policies or protections 

 Planned/Programmed Improvements 

Planned improvements include the Twin Ports Interchange (TPI), Thompson Hill, 5th Ave bridge, and the Blatnik bridge. 

Existing Conditions 

Pavement conditions in most segments are in good shape. Thompson Hill and Canal Park are at end of service life and the northern end is approaching end of service life. 

 67 structures along the corridor. 5 are functionally obsolete and 1 is structurally deficient.  

 12 retaining walls are present in MnDOT right-of-way. The oldest is the Thompson Hill wall and is 1,000 feet long and made of stone.  

 4 tunnels, including the Leif Erickson tunnel, for a combined 3,300 feet in length. 

 A significant investment in infrastructure exists within the I-35 corridor. If the I-35 corridor from Thompson Hill to 26th Ave E were reconstructed today it would cost more than  $750,000,000 (in 2022 dollars).  

Environmental Justice 

Across all Environmental Justice factors, the 1-mile area around I-35 corridor ranks in the 64th percentile for the State. This means that across all Environmental Justice factors, the 1-mile area is equal to or higher than where 64 percent of Minnesotans live across the state.

For example, in the graphic below, Ozone is noted at 77th Minnesota percentile and 53rd national percentile. Which means that Ozone in the 1-mile area is equal to or higher than where 77 percent of Minnesotan live and 53 percent of where people in the United States live.

Traffic Volumes 

Rural segment traffic 

  • I-35

Traffic: 27,000-36,000  

Trucks: 3,000-3,400 (10%) 

  • US 2 to Proctor  

Traffic: 10,400  

Trucks: 1,300 (12.5%) 

  • Midway Rd 

Traffic: 3,600-7,300 

  • Cody St 

Traffic: 4,300 

  • Boundary Ave 

Traffic: 3,000 

  • Highway 61 

Traffic: 2,800 

 

Urban segment traffic

• I-35

Traffic: 35,500-46,000

Trucks: 2,000-3,400 (5-10%)

• I-535 Blatnik Bridge

Traffic: 28,100

Trucks: 1,600 (6%)

• US 2 Bong Bridge

Traffic: 17,900

Trucks: 840 (5%)

• US 53

Traffic: 22,900

• Grand Ave

Traffic: 8,000-14,900

Daily Pedestrian & Bike: 29

• Central Ave N

Daily Pedestrian & Bike: 58

Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge east of 37 ½ Avenue W

Daily Pedestrian & Bike: 29

• N 27th Ave W

Traffic: 11,800

Daily Pedestrian & Bike: 17

Downtown segment traffic

•  I-35

Traffic: 16,100-46,000

Trucks: 1,300-3,100 (3-9%)

•  Mesaba Ave

Traffic: 21,800

Trucks: 370 (2%)

•  Lake Ave

Traffic: 18,600

Peds/Bikes: 448

•  5th Ave W

Traffic: 4,400

Peds/Bikes: 222

•  21st Ave E

Traffic: 14,200

~200 peds/bikes over 3 tunnels

 

Traffic Variability 

  • Rural area sees greatest monthly fluctuations 
  • Urban area is the most stable 
  • June-October 10%+ increase from annual average 
  • December-February 10% decrease from annual average 
  • Friday 16% higher than weekly average 
  • Monday & Tuesday 10% lower than weekly average

Events 

Events at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center and waterfront significantly effect travel demand 

Safety 

 

 

 

 

 

Existing Conditions Report - Sept. 2022


Click image to view report:

Steering Committee Presentation - Sept. 2022

Duluth-Area-35-Steering-Committee-Presentation-September-2022.pdf