Area legislators support third lane for I-494

by Peder Mewis

Legislative Assistant

Office of Sen. David Osmek

Seven area state legislators are supporting the effort to add an additional general purpose lane along Interstate 494 between Highway 5 and the Fish Lake interchange. They are Sen. David Osmek, Sen. Warren Limmer, Sen. Ann Rest, Sen. Terri Bonoff, Sen. David Hann, Rep. Jerry Hertaus, and Rep. Kurt Zellers.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has decided to re-evaluate a plan to add a dynamic shoulder along this highly congested major north-south artery.

In a bipartisan letter addressed to MnDOT’s Metro District Engineer Scott McBride, west metro area legislators urged MnDOT to consider building a general purpose lane, arguing it would be a better investment for this heavily used section of 494 in the west metro.

“We appreciate MnDOT reconsidering adding a general purpose lane over a dynamic shoulder,” Osmek said. “Albeit more expensive, it would be a far better investment and use of our limited highway funding.”

MnDOT has decided to reconsider this section of 494 due to a re-evaluation of plans to build a dynamic shoulder along I-694 between Lexington Avenue and Rice Street in Little Canada, which has similar traffic volumes and similar types of congestion.

An estimated 95,000 vehicles travel that section of I-494 every day, and by 2030, nearly 133,000 vehicles are expected to use the roadway every day. This is the only stretch along the I-494 corridor with two lanes.

“There is strong bipartisan support to add an additional general purpose lane, and I look forward to working with federal, state and local officials to get this done,” Osmek said. “Relieving congestion in our transportation system is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it’s a Minnesotan issue.”