Posts in Transit
HERE'S WHAT THE FUTURE OF THE "CAN OF WORMS" WILL LOOK LIKE
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We all know what the “can of worms” is, right? 

If not, it’s the area where I-35, I-535 and Highway 53 all come together near the shores of the St. Louis Bay. You can also just think of the area in Duluth near the water where multiple freeways intertwine in about every direction possible.  

Yes, that area.

We thought we would let you know that work will begin next year on completely dismantling and rebuilding the interchange we know today. Heavy construction work is expected to last for two years while the entire project will be officially complete in 2023.  

Plans for the $342 million Twin Ports Interchange (TPI) project include essentially completely rebuilding EVERYTHING. Yes, everything.

Here are the main focuses of the project:

  • Providing a new conventional design

  • Relocating all exits and entrances to the right side of the roadway

  • Improving merging sight distance and eliminating merge conflicts

  • Eliminating weaving problems near the interchange

  • Providing lane continuity for through I-35 traffic

We think one of the major wins with this project will be the bullet that states that “all exits and entrances (will be located) to the right side of the roadway.” That’s good news for motorists who use those exits and entrances because at the moment they can be quite tricky (and dangerous) to maneuver.

Another win for the project is that it will also straighten out I-35 as it continues heading southwest, pass the I-535 and I-53 connections. If you think of the area today, it’s the part of I-35 that winds to the left and dips down as exits appear on both the left and right sides. 

THE DESIGN

When it comes to the aesthetic of the TPI project you won’t just see another bland concrete interchange constructed.

The walls and bridges of the TPI will feature two intersecting patterns, one representing the local stone found within the Lincoln Park area and the other representing the taconite pellets that travel through Duluth’s harbors.

These two patterns will intersect and have a break line that represents Miller Creek as it weaves its way through the Lincoln Park neighborhood from the top of the hill down to the bay.

Separating the large plates of these two intersecting patterns will be vertical stacked stone columns that represent the “skilled tradesmen and woman who helped build this part of Duluth, both past and present.”

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You won’t see a lot of the aesthetic work begin for another year or two (for a complete timeframe of the project visit MNDOT’s project website here), however you might have already seen a bit of construction work going on on some of the area’s surrounding the existing interchange.

Work on $1.88 million of improvements is currently being completed on 46th Avenue W, 27th Avenue W, and Railroad Street. The work will include concrete pavement repair and pavement rehabilitation. In addition, new rail crossings will be installed by the BNSF in four locations while one will be removed. 

ANIMATION

Lastly, if you’re interested in seeing the Twin Ports Interchange project in its entirety, check out the fly through of the Twin Ports Interchange courtesy of MNDOT below.

To learn more about this exciting project and to get details on road closures and updates throughout the project’s construction, visit’s MNDOT’s Twin Port’s Interchange project website here.