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Case Studies
Minneapolis, Minnesota — I-35W MnPASS

"I-35W MnPASS" – I-35W, Minneapolis, MN, HOV to HOT Conversion and Shoulder to HOT Conversion Project

Logo. U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration.

Project Description

Following the success of the I-394 MnPass project, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has implemented a HOT lane project on I-35W south of downtown Minneapolis. The MnPASS Lanes on 35W opened on September 30, 2009.

At this time, the northbound and southbound lanes between Hwy. 13 and Hwy. 62, and the northbound lane from 42nd St to downtown, are available. In late 2010, the I-35W crosstown sections between 66th St. and 42nd St will be available in both directions. The eventual project will be 16 miles comprised of converting the HOV lane and/or the shoulder to a HOT lane.

Pricing Parameters

  • The northbound and southbound sections of I-35W south of I-494 and the northbound section of I-35W at 42nd Street are tolled during the following hours:
    • Northbound from TH 13 to Hwy. 62 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
    • Northbound from 42nd Street to downtown will always be tolled when open to traffic
    • Southbound from I-494 to TH 13 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • During the off-peak hours the lanes are not tolled and open to general traffic with the exception of northbound from 42nd Street to downtown.
  • Must have MnPass transponder, if solo driver; $1.50/month leasing fee
  • 2+ carpools, vanpools, transit, motorcycles travel toll free
  • Dynamically priced based on demand
  • Toll rate – varies between sections between $0.25 and $8.00; Average toll during peak period is $1.00 - $3.00.

Unique Features

  • Price Dynamic Shoulder Lane (PDSL) equipped to operate as a MnPASS lane during peak periods to maximize capacity on existing roadways
  • Electronic signs alert drivers whether the PDSL is open or closed
  • Variable speed limits in the adjacent non-tolled lanes
  • Coordination with business in the corridor to offer flex schedules and telework

Project Support

  • 91 percent enrolled in MnPASS expressed satisfaction with the program
  • 84 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the lanes provided them with "a fast, safe reliable commute every time"

Project Website [Link no longer available]

Photo. Overhead signs identifying upcoming toll lanes and current toll amounts along I-35W in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo. Overhead signs identifying toll lane along I-35W in Minneapolis, Minnesota at nighttime.

Project Goals

The I-35W project, as part of the Urban Partnership Agreement, seeks to:

  • Reduce congestion
  • Improve transit service
  • Increase attractiveness of transit service
  • Provide choices for commuters to avoid congestion

The project will provide a congestion free HOT/BRT lane from Burnsville Parkway to downtown Minneapolis

Project Length

Northbound: 14 miles
Southbound: 11.5 miles

Number of HOT lanes

1 in each direction

Midpoint Access

Northbound: 9 entry/exit locations
Southbound: 7 entry/exits locations

Lane Separation

Striped separation

Daily Traffic

Approximately 210,000 average daily traffic in the corridor

Capital Costs

Approximately $50 million for roadway improvements and ITS infrastructure

Operating Costs

Operating costs for the MnPASS system, including I-394 and I-35W are approximately $2 million per year, including enforcement


Revenues for the second year of MnPASS operation on I-394 and I-35W are expected to be between $2 million and $4 million; I-35W revenues are expected to be about $1 million

Project Contact

Nick Thompson
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Operations Manager
(651) 366-3152

Version 1 8/23/10

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