Interstate 494 (I-494) is a bypass route making up part of a beltway of Interstate 94, circling through the southern and western portions of the Minneapolis – Saint Paul metropolitan area in Minnesota. The 43-mile (69 km) road is coupled with Interstate 694 (which circles the northern edge of the Twin Cities metro area) at each end, and composes more than half of the major beltway of the region. I-694 / I-494 also act as loop routes for Interstate 35E and Interstate 35W.
I-494 highlighted in red
|Auxiliary route of I-94|
|Maintained by MnDOT|
|Length||43.00 mi (69.20 km)|
|West end||I-94 / I-694 / US 52 in Maple Grove|
|East end||I-94 / I-694 / US 12 in Woodbury/Oakdale|
|Counties||Washington, Ramsey, Dakota, Hennepin|
I-494 has a few intersections with other interstates:
- I-94 / I-694 at Woodbury / Oakdale
- I-35E in Mendota Heights
- I-35W in Bloomington / Richfield
- I-394 in Minnetonka
- I-94 / I-694 (concurrent) in Maple Grove
The speed limit on I-494 is 60 miles per hour (100 km/h). Interstate highways outside of the loop in Minnesota may be signed as high as 70 mph (110 km/h). Most highways inside the loop are signed at speeds of 55 mph (90 km/h) or lower, though a few exceptions were added in September 2005, allowing speeds of up to 60 mph (97 km/h) in some places. Those roads had been signed at 60 mph (97 km/h) or higher up until the gasoline crisis of the 1970s.
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Exit numbering of Interstate 494 is unusual in that it begins at the Minnesota River heading westbound (between Eagan and Bloomington), and continues clockwise around the entire beltway, continuing clockwise onto Interstate 694. The last exit east of the Minnesota River is #71 to Pilot Knob Road. The first exit west of the river is #1A, which grants access to eastbound State Highway 5 and airport terminal 1. The most significant landmark on the length of I-494 is Mall of America, just south of the intersection of I-494 and State Highway 77.
Legally, the route of Interstate 494 is defined as part of unmarked legislative route 393 in Minnesota Statutes § 161.12(5).  Interstate 494 is not marked with this legislative number along the actual highway.
Construction on Interstate 494 first began in the late 1950s, and it was finally completed in 1985. With the most recent upgrade completed in November 2016 in Plymouth, Interstate 494 is now at least three lanes in each direction for its entire route.
A major reconstruction / widening project of I-494 was completed in fall 2006 between U.S. Highway 212 / State Highway 5 in Eden Prairie and Carlson Parkway at Minnetonka / Plymouth. There were plans for up to six lanes in each direction for parts of I-494 in Bloomington, but the majority of the city only sees four lanes, and sees five in only two spots: eastbound at the East Bush Lake Road exit, and further eastbound at the point where I-494 and MN-5 separate from each other.
Expansion of the Wakota Bridge between Newport and South St. Paul over the Mississippi River was completed in the summer of 2010. The bridge is named so because it connects Washington County and Dakota County. Near the end of this effort, Interstate 494 was widened from two to three lanes in each direction between Lake Road and I-94 in Woodbury.
Since its opening, I-494 has been subjected to numerous traffic problems, both eastbound and westbound. Vehicles usually start to slow down at the U.S. Highway 169 interchange in Bloomington, and continues to slow at the interchange with State Highway 100, at the Bloomington-Edina city line. However, traffic is the worst at the interchange for I-35W, which is located at the Bloomington-Richfield city line. Currently, information about the study is on the City of Bloomington's website, with more information starting to come from MnDOT. The plan is scoped between US-169 to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The road sees over 500,000 passengers per day, with it being congested for more than 30% of the day. So far, MnDOT has determined to add MnPASS lanes eastbound from France Avenue to State Highway 77, and westbound from MN-77 to I-35W. They also plan to construct a turbine-style ramp for Northbound I-35W from westbound I-494. In an effort to reduce congestion on the highway and on exits as well, MnDOT is planning to close all ramps at Nicollet Avenue and 12th Avenue, and construct a full-access interchange at CSAH 35 (Portland Avenue), with two on ramps and two off ramps to replace the ramps. Problems have been addressed throughout the entire corridor, with all the highways being included. Construction for Metro Transit's Orange line tunnel began in 2019, and is still currently underway. The rest of the corridor is still being studied, with plans for construction to begin between 2022 to 2024.
494 Corridor Commission
The 494 Corridor Commission, also known as 494 Commuter Services, is a non-profit organization aimed at reducing traffic congestion along the southwest section of the Interstate 494 corridor. In 1988, the cities of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, Minnetonka, and Richfield joined together to address traffic congestion and work towards improving I-494. The organization's mission is to promote economic growth and regional prosperity through improved transportation options along the highway, such as carpooling and bus transit. The organization's board of directors consists of representatives from each of the five member cities, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Council, and the private business community.
|Washington||Oakdale||58.158||93.596||I-694 north||Continuation beyond I-94|
|Oakdale–Woodbury line||58||I-94 / US 12 – St. Paul, Eau Claire||Signed as exits 58A (west) and 58B (east); I-94 exit 249|
|59.852||96.322||59||Valley Creek Road (CSAH 16)|
|60.690||97.671||60||Lake Road (CSAH 25 north)|
|Maplewood–Newport line||63.177||101.674||63A||US 10 west / US 61 north / CSAH 18 east (Bailey) – St. Paul||Bailey Rd. not signed eastbound|
|Washington||Newport||63B||US 10 east / US 61 south – Hastings|
|63.408||102.045||63C||Maxwell Avenue (CSAH 38 south)||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|Dakota||South St. Paul||63.995||102.990||Wakota Bridge over the Mississippi River|
|64.646||104.038||64B||MN 156 north (Concord Street) / CSAH 56 south (Concord Boulevard)|
|65||5th Avenue, 7th Avenue|
|Inver Grove Heights||66.148||106.455||66||US 52 – St. Paul, Rochester|
|67||MN 3 (Robert Street) / MN 62||MN 62 is not accessible eastbound. Instead, traffic must exit to MN 3 and go north to gain access|
|Eagan–Mendota Heights line||70.049||112.733||69|
MN 149 (Dodd Road) to MN 55
|MN 55 crosses I-494 west of I-35E, but with no direct access|
|70.815||113.966||70||I-35E – St. Paul, Albert Lea||I-35E exits 99A-B|
|71.906||115.721||71||CSAH 31 (Pilot Knob Road)|
|I-494 Bridge over the Minnesota River|
|Hennepin||Bloomington||1.257||2.023||1A||MN 5 east – Terminal 1||Eastern end of MN 5 overlap|
|1.637||2.634||1B||34th Avenue – Terminal 2||Diverging diamond interchange; METRO Blue Line light rail runs in the median of 34th Avenue|
|2.355||3.790||2A||CSAH 1 south (24th Avenue)|
|Bloomington–Richfield line||2.836||4.564||2||MN 77 (Cedar Avenue)||Signed as exits 2B (north) and 2C (south)|
|3||CSAH 35 (Portland Avenue) / 12th Avenue||12th Ave. ramps to be removed in the Airport to US-169 Project |
Portland Ave. will become full access
|4.357||7.012||4A||CSAH 52 north (Nicollet Avenue)||To be removed in the Airport to US-169 Project|
|5.343||8.599||5||I-35W – Minneapolis, Albert Lea||Signed as exits 5A (north) and 5B (south); I-35W exits 9A-B|
|5.851||9.416||6A||CSAH 32 (Penn Avenue)|
|Bloomington||6.875||11.064||6B||CSAH 17 (France Avenue)|
|7.926||12.756||7||MN 100 north / CSAH 34 (Normandale Boulevard)||Signed as exits 7A (north) and 7B (south)|
|8.521||13.713||8||CSAH 28 (E. Bush Lake Road)|
|Bloomington–Eden Prairie line||10.114||16.277||10A||US 169||Eastbound access to US 169 north via exit 10B|
|10B||Washington Avenue||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|Eden Prairie||11.659||18.763||11A||CSAH 61 (Flying Cloud Drive) / Prairie Center Drive||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|11.923||19.188||11||US 212 west / MN 5 west||Western end of MN 5 overlap, Signed as 11B (east) and 11C (west)|
|12.233||19.687||12||CSAH 39 (Valley View Road)||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Minnetonka||13.899||22.368||13||MN 62 east / CSAH 62 west|
|16.267||26.179||16||MN 7||Signed as exits 16A (east) and 16B (west)|
|19.513||31.403||19||I-394 east / US 12 – Minneapolis, Wayzata||Cloverleaf interchange; signed as exits 19A (east) and 19B (west); I-394/US 12 exit 1A-B|
|23.522||37.855||23||CSAH 9 (Rockford Road)|
|Maple Grove||26.203||42.170||26||CSAH 10 (Bass Lake Road)|
|27.993||45.050||27||I-94 west / US 52 west – St. Cloud||Northbound left exit and southbound entrance; I-94 exit 216|
|I-94 east / I-694 east / US 52 north||Beltway continues as I-94/I-694 east/US 52 south|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi|
- ^ "Interstate 494 Minnesota" . Interstate-Guide.com. Retrieved May 17, 2005.[self-published source?]
- ^ https://www.bloomingtonmn.gov/eng/i-35wi-494-interchange-improvements
- ^ https://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/i494and35winterchange/index.html
- ^ https://www.494openhouse.com/
- ^ https://www.494openhouse.com/changestoaccess
- ^ "494 Corridor Commission - Who We Are" . Archived from the original on June 7, 2010. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
- ^ Minnesota Department of Transportation (August 14, 2014). "Statewide Trunk Logpoint Listing" (PDF). St. Paul: Minnesota Department of Transportation. pp. 54–61. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
- ^ "34th Avenue/I-494 Interchange: Diverging diamond interchange removes right turn arrows" . City of Bloomington. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
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