Redesigning the road into Duluth

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When the massive and highly visible twin ports interchange project is eventually completed, a new and equally massive project will be next.

MNDOT is redesigning the stretch of Interstate 35 from Midway Road north through the tunnels, all the way to 26th Avenue East.

Transportation officials say the interstate has met the needs of general vehicle and truck traffic for decades, but also say it’s time to evolve.

MNDOT and the metropolitan interstate council held a public meeting Tuesday night. The council is developing a new I-35 plan for various modes of transportation throughout the region.

Angie Bersaw is the project manager with Bolton and Menk and says planners are now at the stage of having these improvement ideas put into motion and that planning should be wrapped up by this fall.

“The time is now,” Bersaw said, “to provide input when we are in these very early stages of planning before it gets closer to construction in the future.”

The area being focused on is a 14 mile section of I-35 from Midway township and the Proctor area, all the way through the downtown area of Duluth.

Some residents we talked with at Tuesday night’s meeting were not just there as mere bystanders. Some have already been in focus groups to help steer the process. Residents like Bill Majewski, who’s a retired city planner.

“Hopefully the discussion tonight will result in more refinements,” Majewski said. “Hopefully we will get something closer to what will really work well for the community, that the community will accept.”

This is just the beginning of a years-long project, just the first stage of what will become another massive road reconstruction in the Twin Ports area.