Interstate 394 Minnesota
Also known as Wayzata Boulevard, Interstate 394 is an east-west freeway linking Minneapolis with the western suburbs. The Interstate replaced U.S. 12 for much of its length, excluding a short stretch west to Wayzata and the spur into Downtown. MnPass (HO/T) lanes run along the route through Minnetonka, Golden Valley and St. Louis Park to I-94 at Lowry Hill.
The short freeway spur from Interstate 94 east to Washington Avenue includes three off-ramps serving the Loring Park, Downtown West and North Loop neighborhoods in addition to the ABC Ramps parking garages.
Interstate 394 was established by AASHTO on June 23, 1969 as a spur from I-494 eastward to Downtown Minneapolis. Work to upgrade U.S. 12 (Wayzata Boulevard) to freeway standards from Minnetonka to Downtown Minneapolis was completed during a six-year $420-million project that extended 11 miles. The new eastbound lanes opened to traffic on September 28, 1991. The eastbound frontage road was converted to two-way traffic at that time. Westbound drivers were moved from the north frontage road onto the freeway between Florida Avenue and General Mills Boulevard on October 4, 1991. Traffic lights remained in use on the freeway. An eastbound signal at Minnesota 100 was removed on October 14th. Three westbound signals remained in operation at Minnesota 100, Vernon and Louisiana Avenues until Thanksgiving of 1991. The final elements of the I-394 upgrade included building direct links at the east end with the downtown Minneapolis parking ramps in 1992.1
East End – Minneapolis, MN
- West End – Minnetonka, MN
Mileage – 9.75
Cities – Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Golden Valley
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2017 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Upgrades for U.S. 12 (Wayzata Boulevard) to freeway standards took place in stages from 1972 to 1986.9
Interstate 394 was displayed on the 1983-84 Minnesota Official Highway map, but omitted on the Rand McNally North American Road Atlas at least through 1992.
A grand opening event was held to celebrate the overall completion of Interstate 394 on October 24, 1992. This work followed the completion of several Downtown ramps to I-394, and preceded the opening of connecting ramps around Minnesota 100 by three weeks. The finished I-394 incorporated high-occupancy express lanes linking three transit centers, suburban park and ride lots and three parking garages at the east end.3
The HOV lanes along Interstate 394 were converted to High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes on May 16, 2005. The change allowed single occupant vehicles to use the express lanes for a toll collected electronically via the MnPass program. Rates vary depending upon peak and off-peak hours. The success of the toll lanes along I-394 led to the addition of toll lanes on Interstate 35W.4 Project costs for the conversion of the express lanes were estimated at between $8 and 10 million in 2003. A private company constructed the toll lanes project and covered 25% of the overall cost.2
East End – Third Street / Washington Avenue – Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota
West End – Minnetonka, Minnesota
- "Eastbound I-394 Lanes Will Open Saturday/Minneapolis-Wayzata Link Near Completion After 7 Years." St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN), September 27, 1991.
- “State OKs plan to try toll lane.” Star Tribune, November 6, 2003.
- "Frolic On Freeway Celebrates I-394." St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN), October 20, 1992.
- "No Pain, Slight Gain In The MnPass Lane – St. Paul-Minnetonka Commuter Gives The New Toll System A Go." St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN), March 9, 2005.
- "I-394/Ridgedale Drive Westbound On-Ramp Grand Opening." SRF Consulting, November 5, 2014.
- Minnetonka – I-394/Ridgedale Drive westbound on-ramp, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) project web site.
- I-394 and I-494 Interchange, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) project web site.
- Froehlig, Adam.
- US 12 West Metro (Adam Froehlig).
Page updated February 25, 2016.