Minnesota Roads - I-35/35W/35E

I-35, I-35W, I-35E

Starting off with I-35E separating from I-694 EB. The white line is wholly unnecessary. Does anyone think it implies only the middle lane goes there?

State-name shields are fairly rare in the state, so I'll take one wherever I can find it, even if the rest of the sign is erroneous (differently sized arrows, lack of full capitalization for directions). This is leaving a shopping center at Exit 21B.

Underneath the I-35W Mississippi River bridge on West River Parkway, looking north with the 10th Avenue Bridge to the right. (There are more views on the Minneapolis bridges page linked at bottom.) Officially the St. Anthony Falls Bridge, this bridge was designed and constructed in 13 months on a heavily accelerated schedule after the infamous August 1, 2007 rush hour collapse of the former bridge. The 1967 former bridge had been overloaded on one side with construction equipment, and was made at a time when non-redundant structures were fashionable, meaning that certain structural elements were critical to the point that if any one of them failed, the entire bridge would collapse. Needless to say, this is not really sound bridge engineering, but it came at a time when structures were getting slimmer and lighter as much as possible, even despite the 1940 lesson of Galloping Gertie in Washington.

NB under a pedestrian bridge to the Exit 21B ramp (I-35E gets to keep the I-35 mainline exit numbers), where there's a three-way merge with the Exit 21A ramp from the right and a center ghost ramp that was to have come from never-built I-335 EB, the North Loop freeway. Instead of two lanes of traffic coming in plus these two ramps for a total of four lanes, there are just the two ramps, and they're kept separate by solid white lines around the unused second-left lane. After the Exit 21B split to Johnson St., Exit 21A, which has widened out to two lanes, drops down to New Brighton Blvd., CR 88 and former US 8. There's a return ramp to I-35W NB that's signed for authorized buses only (to skip around traffic during rush hour), but was intended to carry the left lane of I-335 EB traffic onto its parent.

Looking south at the two-lane merging stub.

The SB direction is much less elaborate, as it would just have had a simple mainline weave between Exits 21A-21B and the I-335 WB offramp. The stub is also much less obvious, consisting of little more than a shoulder widening at the Hennepin Avenue overpass with concrete lines tracing the incoming would-be ramp shoulder. (From aerial photos, there's a little bit of grading evident, and the Johnson St. SB overpass is a little longer than it needs to be to accommodate the unbuilt EB-SB ramp.) The North Loop would have provided relief to I-94 around downtown and I-35W across the Mississippi River - that could have been useful during the tragedy in 2007 when the I-35W bridge collapsed during construction, and MN 280 was pressed into service as the only viable alternate route in proximity.

Lookng north at the smidgen of the SB stub, which would have had its own section of Johnson St. underpass all to itself. You can see the gentle ramp grading in the grass from this angle. The rightmost span of the overpass would have had the NB-WB ramp rising slowly underneath it, to fly over I-35W in the background.

Made it this far? Click to enjoy a SB drive in Duluth from the beginning of I-35 along the depressed downtown freeway and its various tunnels.

Onto I-694
More Minneapolis bridges
Continue north on MN 61
Into Iowa on I-35
Back to Minnesota Roads
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