Interstate 94

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Interstate 94

Postby mulad » June 4th, 2012, 11:40 pm

I-94 resurfacing from MN-280 to downtown Minneapolis is almost complete, with a final full road closure this weekend. I think the "smart lane" dynamic signage is all installed, but I have no idea when it will be activated. (The signs are mounted on hinges and are currently facing the wrong direction.)

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby PhilmerPhil » June 4th, 2012, 11:51 pm

Smart lane? Is 94 getting bus/carpool/MnPass lanes?

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mulad » June 4th, 2012, 11:57 pm

No, at least not for now. That's been studied, but this plan doesn't include MnPASS lanes. The signs will do things like display an advised speed limit (decreasing from 55 during congested periods), designate lanes as closed or obstructed (following crashes), and there will be a sign above the right-hand shoulder typically saying "BUS ONLY" (for our bus-only shoulders).

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mulad » July 8th, 2012, 10:26 am

I think most of the electronic signs have been flipped forward to face traffic now. I saw a test pattern on one about a week ago.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mattaudio » July 9th, 2012, 8:55 am

I was surprised there wasn't a fourth lane in each direction under Snelling. And it's nice to have four westbound lanes all the way from Snelling to 5th Street in Mpls.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby MSPtoMKE » July 12th, 2012, 8:05 pm

I did see the signs being used for the first time today. The rightmost through lane of westbound I-94 near the 5th St. exit had a yellow arrow indicating there was a stalled vehicle on the shoulder, the rest were green arrows. No advisory speeds were shown, though.
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby min-chi-cbus » July 13th, 2012, 8:02 am

They should make those screens be able to show movies or TV shows during major traffic jams and slow-moving/no-moving speeds!!

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby uptowncarag » April 21st, 2013, 5:08 pm

How backwards is MNDOT? Interstate 94 should be at least 3 lanes from Maple Grove to St. Cloud.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby web » April 21st, 2013, 5:26 pm

ummmm $$$ and enviromental and right of way......do no blame mndot......additional lanes from rogers to st cloud were on michelle bachmans pork list.......for a teabagger so against pork, its funny she is first in line {re stillwater bridge and this}. Her cohorts will never pass a transportation bill which makes any sense.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 21st, 2013, 5:58 pm

uptowncarag wrote:How backwards is MNDOT? Interstate 94 should be at least 3 lanes from Maple Grove to St. Cloud.
Yeah, hope this is a joke...

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Nathan » April 21st, 2013, 9:42 pm

It's usually the worst from the fish lake interchange to Rogers anyways, and that is 3 lanes... beyond that is nbd, even during lake traffic.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 22nd, 2013, 7:31 am

That's because the bottleneck of 3 to 2 causes the backup. Moving the bottleneck up further north will not fix the amount of congestion (unless a significant amount of people are peeling off at Monticello, Clearwater, or St Cloud, which doesn't seem to be the case in my experience). Either way, if it did help reduce congestion, it will only induce more travelers.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Nathan » April 22nd, 2013, 8:06 am

The bottleneck might be a bit, but A LOT of people get off in Rogers... 101 N draws a lot of people...

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mister.shoes » April 22nd, 2013, 8:21 am

I've always assumed the 3-to-2 lane drop is the problem in Rogers as well, but I'm not so sure any more. Ever since the improved exit ramp and new flyover was finished, the problem hasn't gotten any better. The right lane doesn't back up as badly as it used to, yet the left two lanes are still slow. One would figure that if the lane drop was the issue, the congestion would release as soon as the drop has passed. However, every time I drive that stretch the congestion doesn't release until after the westbound on-ramp beyond the interchange. I think 101 generates enough additional traffic to 94 that the true bottleneck is the merging vehicles.

Or, in reality, it's a combination of both.
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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mattaudio » April 22nd, 2013, 8:32 am

While I could eventually see the need for strategic expansion in spots, I like what MnDOT has been doing instead as of the past half decade... improving interchanges to decrease the impacts on the mainline (whether merging traffic, or backed up exiting traffic due to queuing after the exit). These might not look like standard projects based on how we used to do things, but they are effective at much lower costs.

I just drove the corridor twice yesterday, and I noticed improvements at Albertville including a longer acceleration lane for the entrance to westbound 94 at the outlet mall. Of course a few years ago there were also improvements at 101 in Rogers, a reduction in curve radius at the south end of Monticello, etc. With the exception of Dunkirk, which seems to have been rebuilt to create a second sprawl zone in Maple Grove known as Maple Grove Parkway, I think these have been effective projects. They reduce the impact of speed changes on the mainline and create a more predictable and consistent drive which equates to safety. That said, I don't think it's the job of MnDOT to ensure the entire metro population can head up north on a Friday afternoon at 75 MPH. If the speed drops to 45 or 55 during peak periods, that's the cost of a free freeway.

We can either dynamically price a congestion free facility or we can have congestion on a free facility, but we can't afford to have the temporary relief of congestion at peak hours on free facilities.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby mulad » April 22nd, 2013, 8:49 am

Repeat after me: Organization before electronics before concrete. That's a mantra used by the German rail system to try to prioritize cheap improvements above more expensive ones. Unfortunately, automotive traffic seems to be inherently disorganized (conversely, trains can be strictly scheduled), but definitely some analysis should be done to figure out where everyone is going and whether some other interchanges should be prioritized somehow. If enough people are following the same route, there's a good case to be made for expanded bus service (preferably all-day service and not just commuter service based around park-and-rides, if at all possible). Beyond organizational things like that, the electronics category would include dynamic message signs, managed lanes (like south I-35W and I-94 between Minneapolis and Saint Paul). Having tolled lanes or implementing tolls on the entire roadway should also be considered.

I'm worried about what's going to happen when MN-610 finally reaches I-94, though. That's probably going to induce a huge amount of traffic near Rogers.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Mdcastle » April 22nd, 2013, 2:41 pm

I don't disagree that I-94 needs more lanes, and there's a pork barrel bill that would provide $30 million in bonds to add a lane from MN 101 to MN 241, but if we're going to invest in meaningful highway expansion we need to fix the overall funding situation, not provide pork for pet projects here and there. Right now priorities are low cost / high return projects like stealing safety shoulders to build new lanes in certain locations, and maintenance. Projects like completing the I-494 expansion or adding new lanes on I-94, or the new river crossings at MN 24 and MN 41 aren't even being talked about given current funding.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby RailBaronYarr » April 22nd, 2013, 4:06 pm

Mdcastle wrote:I don't disagree that I-94 needs more lanes
I don't think our country could justify more lanes of highways, anywhere. Let alone north/west-bound I-94 which only ever gets congested to a point people would say we 'need' more lanes because of summer Friday cabin commutes.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby uptowncarag » April 22nd, 2013, 4:17 pm

Someone asked if my reply was a joke about there being at least 3 lanes to St. Cloud. No it is not a joke. This is the main artery to Northern Minnesota as well as out west. Boats, trailers, campers,and semi-trailers do not use light rail or commuter rail. You sometimes do need to expand your freeway system.

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Re: Interstate 94

Postby Nathan » April 22nd, 2013, 4:24 pm

uptowncarag wrote:Someone asked if my reply was a joke about there being at least 3 lanes to St. Cloud. No it is not a joke. This is the main artery to Northern Minnesota as well as out west. Boats, trailers, campers,and semi-trailers do not use light rail or commuter rail. You sometimes do need to expand your freeway system.
As someone who grew up in Maple Grove, and with a cabin near Alexandria, and Went to school in/has family around Fargo, I made that drive many many a time, It's really not bad North of Rogers. The only times it is bad is Friday between noon and 8 and Sunday between 10 and 5 3-4 months of the year, the traffic the other 300 some days a year just doesn't justify 3 lanes.


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