Hwy 252 and I-94 in Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park and north Minneapolis are in need of improvements and repairs. Currently, MnDOT is seeing a high number of crashes, traffic congestion, and significant barriers for pedestrians and bicyclists in the area. Both roads also are deteriorating and need to be repaired.
Before MnDOT makes any major improvements to Hwy 252 and I-94, we are working closely with the public, and our federal and local partners to gain a better understanding of safety and transportation needs in the area. As part of this study, we also are taking a closer look at how a potential construction project could affect the environment surrounding Hwy 252 and I-94. This includes the people, plants, animals, water, air, buildings and other structures in the area. Our team will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) that outlines the potential project’s impact to the surrounding area. This process will take several years due to the size and complexity of the project. During this time, our team continues to engage with the community and other stakeholders at each step in the process.
A specific construction plan or timeline cannot be developed without an identified preferred alternative. However, construction is anticipated to begin in 2026. Once a preferred alternative is selected, analysis will be done to determine how to lessen construction impacts for local residents and the traveling public.
*Although construction on a potential Hwy 252/I-94 project will not begin until after the environmental review, our crews will continue to carry out minor maintenance and construction activity within the area, as needed.
Although the current EIS will consider previous analysis and alternatives, new alternatives and ideas will also be considered and developed. No decisions have been made yet regarding corridor improvements, what the roadway should look like, or how the roadway should operate. Many different alternatives are under consideration to reduce or expand Hwy 252 including building an expressway or a freeway.
Transit (managed lanes and E-ZPass MN)
MnDOT and Metro Transit are working throughout the environmental process to develop improvements to local and express bus service. Highway decisions may include additional transit infrastructure depending on the highway’s design. All project options are considering the E-ZPass managed lane improvement to improve transit operations on the corridor.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
The project team made the decision to not add Highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) options into the current project alternatives. The Transit Feasibility Study showed that the current and anticipated transit users in the corridor could be better served with improvements to local and express bus routes at a lower cost and impact than the addition of BRT options.
Walking, rolling, biking
People who walk, bike, or roll face specific challenges while traveling along and across Hwy 252/I-94. Improving their mobility and safety is one of the identified needs of the project. Project alternatives are being evaluated based on their potential impacts to drivers and transit users as well as to people walking and biking in the area. The environmental review will focus on how a potential project might impact community cohesion, or how land is used to promote connections in neighborhoods.
MnDOT’s environmental review will evaluate social, economic and environmental impacts of the proposed alternatives. We will identify how proposed improvements could benefit surrounding communities and avoid, minimize, and mitigate any potential negative impacts. The Equity and Health Assessment underway will consider significant equity and health impacts. Mitigation strategies will be developed to ensure that the Hwy 252/I-94 project doesn’t create or worsen health disparities for BIPOC communities.
Public comments during the initial Environmental Assessment led to the need for a more in-depth Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Community input, feedback and ideas in 2021 helped MnDOT develop possible project alternatives for this roadway. After additional analysis of alternatives, the public is invited to provide feedback on the alternatives proposed to advance alternatives. Your feedback will help determine if the study team has a good set of alternatives for further review and evaluation, and if there are any additional options to consider.
Hwy 252 safety improvements in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park
MnDOT has identified and selected eight interim safety improvements for Hwy 252 between I-94/I-694 in Brooklyn Center and Hwy 610 in Brooklyn Park. These safety improvements will be made in 2023 and will not affect the alternative selected during the Draft Environmental Impact (DEIS) process.
Noise levels for existing and future Build alternative conditions will be studied as part of the proposed Hwy 252/I-94 project in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis. These noise levels will be analyzed to see which areas along the project corridor exceed the Federal noise standards. For areas where noise standards are exceeded, noise abatement such as noise walls will be analyzed to see if they meet the necessary noise reduction and cost effectiveness criterial. For areas that meet the necessary criteria, a noise wall proposal will be developed, and eligible property owners and residents will be contacted to participate in a voting process. Eligible properties are ones that would receive a five decibel or higher reduction in sound from a noise wall. They will be able to vote for or against any proposed noise wall before it moves forward for construction as a part of the project.
MnDOT plans to establish a Noise Advisory Committee (NAC) during the development of the Draft EIS (DEIS). The purpose of the NAC is to provide two-way communication between MnDOT and the public to provide a greater understanding of the traffic noise analysis process. Invitations to participate in the NAC will be extended to interested individuals along Hwy 252 and I-94. NAC meetings are anticipated to follow a public open house meeting format and will occur at certain milestones in the noise analysis process.
For more information about traffic noise analysis and noise barriers, please visit MnDOT’s Noise Webpage.
More detailed air quality analysis will occur during the Draft EIS (DEIS). The DEIS environmental review will include a quantitative assessment of Mobile Source Air Toxics pollution (MSAT) for the final build alternatives evaluation step in the DEIS to determine whether the alternatives are likely to increase or decrease MSAT emissions compared to existing No Build conditions. A project-level analysis of carbon monoxide levels will study the current high-volume intersections on Hwy 252 that are considered CO hotspots. This analysis will help the region remain below thresholds for CO pollution. MnDOT will also prepare a greenhouse gas analysis as part of the final build alternatives evaluation step in the DEIS. The greenhouse gas analysis is not a selection criterion for identifying a preferred alternative but is for disclosure purposes only.