I-35W Minnesota River Bridge Design-Build

I-35W over the Minnesota River provides a vital connection between the north and south areas of the Twin Cites Metro region. The project includes the replacement of the existing river bridge, which was at the end of its useful service life; reconstructing the highway; raising the roadway profile out of the floodplain, and improving pedestrian/bicycle routes across the Minnesota River. Additional work includes the reconfiguration and/or partial reconstruction of the adjacent interchanges; upgrades to lighting, signing, and striping; and ITS upgrades for the E-ZPass express lanes.

Substantial 3D modeling was used on this project. These efforts were instrumental in vetting and refining design alternatives and identifying and mitigating design conflicts early in design. The investment in 3D modeling provided a seamless transition from design to construction directly contributing to the cost and schedule savings and overall project quality.

Limiting congestion and maintaining transit advantages was also important to this project. With these goals in mind, the design team developed a construction staging approach that maintained all 6-lanes of traffic and therefore never reduced capacity or safety through the project duration. The functionality of the existing E-ZPass express lanes, which provide advantages to transit users, were maintained throughout construction. The project also greatly enhanced multimodal amenities within the project corridor. The new I-35W northbound bridge was designed with sufficient width and safety accommodations for pedestrians and bicycles to cross the Minnesota River on the same bridge structure as motorists. Overall, this project provides MnDOT with a wholistic transportation system incorporating all modes.

This project was selected for a 2022 American Council of Engineering Companies Minnesota Grand Award and People’s Choice Award.