Interstate-Guide Home State by State Interstate list Main Interstate Routes Hidden Interstates Decommissioned Interstates Future Interstates Business Loops & Spurs Interstates Facts & Trivia FWHA Rouge Log Kurumi's 3di Log
 

Interstate 394 Minnesota

 

Routing / History

Interstate 394 is an east-west freeway also known as Wayzata Boulevard, and it is cosigned with U.S. 12 for much of its length. It links downtown Minneapolis and Interstate 94 with U.S. 12 and the western suburbs of Minnetonka, Plymouth, Golden Valley, and St. Louis Park. Interstate 394 was originally shown on maps as being signed only on the short freeway spur from Interstate 94 East to Washington Avenue, but it now extends west to Interstate 494. Built at a cost of approximately $500 million in the late 1980s, Interstate 394 was among the last of the major Interstate freeways to be completed in the Minneapolis-St. Paul vicinity.1

Planned Improvements

Interstate 394 is the first route in Minnesota to have a toll lane. Planning culminated in 2004, and signs regarding the new toll lanes were installed in 2005. MnDOT chose this option to help reduce congestion on the adjacent regular lanes. The tolls vary depending on time of day and cost up to $3 in an effort to keep the high occupancy vehicle/toll lanes flowing. Project costs are estimated at between $8 and 10 million. A private company constructed the toll lanes project and covered 25% of the overall cost. Motorists will use the lanes via a prepaid toll account and associated transponder. MnDOT calls the electronic toll taking system "MnPass." The success of this project enable MnDOT to consider other public-private partnerships for constructing toll lanes on other Minneapolis-St. Paul-area freeways in the future.2

Western Terminus - Interstate 494 - Minnetonka, Minnesota
Perspective from Interstate 394/U.S. 12 west
Interstate 394 is a major east-west freeway that connects Wayzata, Minnetonka, St. Louis Park, and Minneapolis. It intersects three freeways along its path (Interstate 94, Minnesota 100, and U.S. 169) before it finally approaches Interstate 494, which forms the southern half of the Minneapolis-St. Paul belt route. This mileage sign provides the distance to the final two exits of Interstate 394 west: Exit 1B, Junction Hennepin County Route 61 (Plymouth Road) and Exit 1A, Junction Interstate 494 north to Plymouth and Maple Grove and south to Eden Prairie. Exit 1A also connects to Carlson Parkway and Linner Road via collector-distributor lanes. The third exit listed on this sign is for U.S. 12, which continues as a freeway west of Interstate 494 into Wayzata. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Westbound Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 reach Exit 1B, Junction Hennepin County Route 61 (Plymouth Road). The next offramp connects to Exit 1A, Junction Interstate 494 north to Plymouth and Maple Grove and south to Eden Prairie. Exit 1A also connects to Carlson Parkway and Linner Road. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
The final exit along Interstate 394 is Exit 1A, Junction Interstate 494 north to Plymouth and Maple Grove and south to Eden Prairie as well as Carlson Parkway and Linner Road. The other two interchanges (via U.S. 12 west) are with Hennepin County Route 15 and Hennepin County Route 101. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Westbound Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 reach Exit 1A, Junction Interstate 494. Use the collector distributor lanes to Interstate 494 north, Interstate 494 south, and Carlson Parkway and Linner Road. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
The first ramp from the collector-distributor lanes links to Interstate 494 north to Maple Grove. The next ramp connects to Interstate 494 south to Eden Prairie. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
An END Interstate 394 overhead is posted on the Interstate 494 overpass. Like many freeway to freeway interchanges in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, this interchange is a modified cloverleaf. U.S. 12 continues westward as a limited access highway to Wayzata, then eventually shifts to a two-lane alignment en route to Litchfield and Willmar. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Perspective from Interstate 494 north
Now traveling north on Interstate 494 (inner loop), the first appearance of Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 (Exits 19A-B) is at the Minnetonka Boulevard exit (Exit 17). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
This mileage sign provides the distance to Exits 19A-B, Junction Interstate 394 and U.S. 12; Exit 20, Carlson Parkway; and Exit 21, Junction Hennepin County Route 6. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Six-lane Interstate 494 (three lanes in each direction) approaches Exits 19A-B, Junction Interstate 394/U.S. 12 east to downtown Minneapolis and U.S. 12 west to Wayzata. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Northbound Interstate 494 (inner loop) reaches Exit 19A, Junction Interstate 394/U.S. 12 east to Minneapolis. The next exit is a loop ramp to U.S. 12 west to Wayzata. Interstate 494 continues north to rejoin Interstate 94 and Interstate 694. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Immediately thereafter, a loop ramp connects Interstate 494 north with U.S. 12 west to Wayzata at Exit 19B. The next two exits are Exit 20, Carlson Parkway and Exit 21, Junction Hennepin County Route 6. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Perspective from Interstate 494 south
Southbound Interstate 494 (outer loop) reaches Exit 20, Carlson Parkway. The next exit is Exits 19B-A, Junction Interstate 394 and U.S. 12. Photo taken by Patrick Lilja (04/08/07).
The first ramp connects southbound Interstate 494 with U.S. 12 west to Wayzata (Exit 19B), while the second exit offers a connection to Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 east to downtown Minneapolis. Photo taken by Patrick Lilja (04/08/07).
A loop ramp connects Interstate 494 south with Interstate 394/U.S. 12 east to downtown Minneapolis. Photo taken by Patrick Lilja (04/08/07).
Perspective from Interstate 394/U.S. 12 east
Now traveling west on U.S. 12, the first appearance of Interstate 394 is on the approach to the Interstate 494 interchange (Exit 1A). U.S. 12 is silently merged with Interstate 394 from this point eastward to Interstate 94 near downtown Minneapolis. Photo taken by Don Greiskalns (6/01).
On the collector-distributor lanes for this modified cloverleaf interchange, the first ramp from Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 east connects with Interstate 494 south. The second ramp (a loop ramp) links to Interstate 494 north to Maple Grove (where the belt route meets Interstate 94). Photo taken by Jeff and David Morrison (05/08/07).
Eastbound Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 approach their first interchange after the Interstate 494 interchange with Exits 1B-C, Junction Hennepin County Route 61/Plymouth Road. Photos taken by Patrick Lilja (04/08/07) and Jeff and David Morrison (05/08/07).
Eastern Terminus - Third Street/Washington Avenue - downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota
Perspective from Interstate 394 east
We begin on eastbound Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 at Exit 8A, Dunwoody Boulevard and Hennepin Avenue. The next exit is Exit 8B, Junction Interstate 94/U.S. 52 north (west) and Interstate 94 and U.S. 12-52 east to St. Paul. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
The right two lanes of eastbound Interstate 394 shift onto Interstate 94 (note that U.S. 12 also exits here, onto Interstate 94 east), while the left two lanes continue east on Interstate 394 into downtown Minneapolis. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
As the skyscrapers of downtown Minneapolis come into view, the two lanes of eastbound Interstate 394 will see a reduced speed as the freeway approaches the urban interface. A changeable message sign advises on whether the various downtown parking garages are open for use. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
The next exit along Interstate 394 east is Exit 9A, 12th Street North. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
Eastbound Interstate 394 reaches Exit 9A, 12th Street North. The next exit is Exit 9B, 6th Street North to two parking garages. The two left lanes continue east on Interstate 394, with a connection to 4th Street North. Photos taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07) and Don Greiskalns (04/14/08).
Interstate 394 turns a bit to the north, and this view shows the offramp to 12th Street North. The next exit is Exit 9B, 6th Street North to two parking garages. Photos taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07) and Don Greiskalns (04/14/08).
The freeway lowers below grade. Interstate 394 will end in about 0.75 mile. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
Soon thereafter, Interstate 394 east reaches Exit 9B, 6th Street North to two of the parking garages. The two left lanes continue east on Interstate 394, with a connection to 4th Street North. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
Indeed, Interstate 394 not only serves these massive parking garages, but it also passes directly underneath them. The next exit on Interstate 394 east is Exit 9C, 3rd Avenue North and Washington Avenue. The final offramp (left two lanes) is to 4th Street North. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
A second parking garage comes into view as eastbound Interstate 394 reaches Exit 9C, 3rd Avenue North and Washington Avenue. The two left lanes transition directly to 4th Street North. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
In the distance, a third parking garage is seen by Interstate 394 travelers before the freeway abruptly turns toward 4th Street North and North 2nd Avenue. While the "mainline" of Interstate 394 not pass under this third parking garage, the ramp for Exit 9C to Washington Avenue indeed passes under this third garage. Additionally, westbound travelers on Interstate 394 pass under the third parking garage from the intersection of Second Avenue North and Third Street North. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
After rounding the bend, Interstate 394 comes to an end at this traffic signal with North 2nd Avenue. Continue straight ahead to follow 4th Street North into downtown Minneapolis. Photos taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
Perspective from northwestbound Third Street North (downtown Minneapolis)
After passing Second Avenue North, this is the entrance to both Interstate 94 and Interstate 394 from Third Street North in downtown Minneapolis. A short freeway stub extends from this intersection northwestward to Interstate 94; this long ramp is considered part of the Third Street/Fourth Street couplet; however, it is not part of Interstate 394. Stay right for the connection to Interstate 94 west; stay left to connect to Interstate 394 west. Note that there is NO ACCESS from Interstate 394 west to Interstate 94 east or west! Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Perspective from Interstate 394 west
Immediately after the split from Third Street North, Interstate 394 begins and immediately travels below grade to pass under the first of three parking garages. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
The second parking garage comes into view, and Interstate 394 prepares to pass below 5th Street North. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Soon thereafter, the third and final parking garage comes into view. After passing under this garage, Interstate 394 will return to ground level and approach Interstate 94. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
After the last parking garage, westbound Interstate 394 passes under 11th Street North and 12th Street North (a one-way couplet). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
High occupancy vehicles, buses, carpools, motorcycles, and toll-paying drivers may use the segregated express lanes. This sign is the first to advise of the split in Interstate 394. These high occupancy vehicle toll (HOT) lanes are especially useful during commuting hours, when workers leave downtown at the end of the day for their suburban homes. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
The first Interstate 394 pull-through sign is also the first reassurance shield on the westbound mainline. Stay left to follow the free lanes; merge right for the carpool and toll lanes. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
The main lanes and high occupancy vehicles/toll lanes split. At this exact point, Interstate 394 crosses over Interstate 94 ... without any acknowledgement. Hopefully all cars bound for Interstate 94 used the Third Street North connection from downtown. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Passing through the Interstate 94 interchange, westbound Interstate 394 reduces to one lane. The first exit along westbound Interstate 394 is Exit 7, Junction Hennepin County Route 2 (Penn Avenue). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Traffic merges onto Interstate 394 west from Interstate 94, bringing the total to three westbound lanes. The high occupancy vehicles and toll lanes can be seen on the viaduct in the background of this picture. From here, Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 (which silently joins Interstate 394 west at this point and follows Interstate 394 all the way to Interstate 494) travel toward St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, and Wayzata. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/12/07).
Perspective from eastbound Second Avenue North (downtown Minneapolis)
Eastbound Second Avenue North approaches Third Street North. Turn left at this signalized intersection onto Interstate 394 west to Interstate 94. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
Perspective from Interstate 94 and U.S. 12-52 west
Traveling west on Interstate 94 and unsigned U.S. 12-52, this mileage sign provides the distance to Exit 231B, Lyndale Avenue and Hennepin Avenue; Exit 231A, Junction Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 west (no access to eastbound); and Exit 230, Junction Minnesota 55/Olson Highway. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).
Continuing west on Interstate 94 and U.S. 12-52, the second appearance of Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 (Exit 231A) comes prior to the offramp to Exit 231B, Lyndale Avenue and Hennepin Avenue. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).
Westbound Interstate 94 and U.S. 12-52 reaches Exit 231B, Lyndale Avenue and Hennepin Avenue. Interstate 94 will pass through a brief tunnel, then turn north to interchange with Interstate 394. Restricted vehicles should depart the freeway at Exit 231B. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).
View of the exit to Exit 231B, Lyndale Avenue and Hennepin Avenue. Continue on Interstate 94 west to the next offramp, which connects to Exit 231A, Junction Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 west. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).
All three lanes of Interstate 94 west must slow down for the curve prior to entering the tunnel. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).
Interstate 94 and U.S. 12-52 enter this tunnel before reaching the junction with Interstate 394 (Exit 231A). Photos taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).
Upon exiting the tunnel, a sign for Interstate 94 and Interstate 394 is visible from Hennepin Avenue, which parallels Interstate 94 on the east side of the freeway. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).
As the freeway turns north away from the tunnel, westbound Interstate 94 approaches Exit 231A, Junction Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 west. There is no direct access to Interstate 394 east into downtown Minneapolis. The pull-through sign omits U.S. 52, which silently merges with Interstate 94 east all the way to the North Dakota State Line. North Dakota faithfully signs U.S. 52, while Minnesota does not. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
Westbound Interstate 94 reaches Exit 231A, Junction Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 west to Wayzata. The frontage road also connects to Interstate 394; access to this frontage road is provided via aforementioned Exit 231B to Lyndale Avenue and Hennepin Avenue. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/07).
Perspective from Interstate 94 and U.S. 52 east
Now traveling south (east) on Interstate 94 and unsigned U.S. 52, the next two exits are Exit 230, Junction Minnesota 55 and Exits 231A-B, Junction Interstate 394 and U.S. 12. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).
The right lane of Interstate 94 connects to Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 west. There is no access from Interstate 94 east to Interstate 394 east. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).
After the Interstate 394 interchange, Interstate 94 enters a tunnel. Through traffic prohibited from using the tunnel must depart the freeway at Exit 231B (Hennepin Avenue and Lyndale Avenue). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).
Eastbound Interstate 94 and U.S. 52 reach Exit 231A, Junction Interstate 394 and U.S. 12 west and Exit 231B, Hennepin Avenue and Lyndale Avenue (prohibited vehicle route). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (04/23/07).

Sources:

  1. "Re: I-394 Toll Signs Go Up" post by Adam "Froggie" Froehlig, January 1, 2005 in newsgroup Misc.Transport.Road.
  2. "State OKs plan to try toll lane." Star Tribune, November 6, 2003.

Page Updated April 16, 2008.

 
Mileage

State Minnesota
Mileage 9.75
Cities Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Golden Valley
Junctions Interstate 494, Interstate 94
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
| Home | Sitemap | Updates | About | Privacy | Contact | Copyright AARoads