Interstate 35 in Minnesota

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Interstate 35

Blue Star Memorial Highway
34th Infantry (Red Bull) Division Highway
Route information
Defined by MS § 161.12(2)
Maintained by MnDOT
Length220.46 mi[3] (354.80 km)
Existed1958 (1958)[1]–present
HistoryUnder construction: 1958–1992[2]
NHSEntire route
Southern section
South end
I-35 / Iowa 27 towards Des Moines, IA
Major intersections
North end I-35E / I-35W at Burnsville
Northern section
South end I-35E / I-35W at Columbus
Major intersections
North end MN 61 at Duluth
CountryUnited States
CountiesFreeborn, Steele, Rice, Scott, Dakota; Anoka, Washington, Chisago, Pine, Carlton, St. Louis
Highway system
  • Minnesota Trunk Highway System
MN 34 I-35E

Interstate 35 (I-35) is a north–south Interstate Highway that stretches from Laredo, Texas, to Duluth, Minnesota. In the US state of Minnesota, I-35 enters from Iowa and heads north toward the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. South of the metropolitan area, I-35 splits into two branches; I-35E runs through Saint Paul and I-35W through Minneapolis. These two branches rejoin north of the Twin Cities, and the highway continues north to Duluth, where it terminates at State Highway 61 (MN 61). The highway was authorized in 1956 and the first segment opened in 1958. It reached Duluth in 1971, and the final segment to east Duluth opened in 1992.

Route description

I-35 enters the state from Iowa near Albert Lea. It heads roughly due north toward the Twin Cities, where it splits into I-35E and I-35W. The two halves of I-35 rejoin north of the Twin Cities. From there, I-35 travels north-northeast; south of Duluth, it becomes more northeasterly. The route ends near the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth. The entire route is officially designated the Red Bull Highway, named after the 34th Infantry (Red Bull) Division.[4] Legally, I-35 is defined as Routes 390, 395, and 396 in the Minnesota Statutes §161.12(2), but the route is not marked with those numbers. The I-35 legislative route designation and mileposts follow I-35E in the Twin Cities area.

Southern segment

I-35 enters the state in Freeborn County south of Albert Lea. The first one mile (1.6 km) northbound contains a rest area and Minnesota welcome center. Shortly after the first exit, for County Road 5 (CR 5), there is a sweeping S-curve to the northwest and back to the north. The exit for CR 13 marks the last exit before Albert Lea. Up to here, the Interstate roughly marked the halfway point between U.S. Route 65 (US 65) and US 69. Both U.S. Highways end in Albert Lea.

In Albert Lea, it curves to the northeast and meets US 65, which passes beneath the Interstate. US 65 picks up Business Loop Interstate 35 (BL I-35), which follows the US Highway through the city. It then crosses Albert Lea Lake of a pair of 0.25-mile-long (0.40 km) bridges. It straightens back to the north to meet CR 46, which follows the former route of US 16. Shortly after that interchange, it intersects the national northern end of US 65; access to US 65 there is limited to the southbound lanes of I-35, and traffic from US 65 can only access the northbound lanes of I-35. At the northeastern edge of Albert Lea, there is an interchange with I-90, which directs traffic toward La Crosse, Wisconsin, or Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

I-35 continues north through the rolling hills of southern Minnesota. At Clarks Grove, it intersects MN 251. Between there and the CR 35 exit to Geneva, it passes to the west of Geneva Lake. Just east of Ellendale is an interchange with MN 30. Exit 32, CR 4 to Hope, is the last interchange before Owatonna. On the southern edge of Owatonna is a cloverleaf interchange with US 14. North of CR 45, the CR 34 exit serves northern Owatonna and provides access to the Owatonna Degner Regional Airport. The CR 9 exit serves Clinton Falls and a Cabela's store.

Further north, I-35 meets CR 12 and CR 23 in Medford. Along CR 23, which serves as a western frontage road to I-35, lies an outlet mall. Now in Rice County, the Interstate approaches Faribault. Exit 55 only serves exiting northbound traffic and entering southbound traffic. MN 60 is the main east–west street through Faribault, and MN 21 provides access to Faribault from the north of town. To the south, MN 21 ends at MN 60, but the road continues south and reconnects to I-35 at exit 55.

North of Faribault, the Interstate heads due north before the two directions are briefly separated when they enter a corridor of trees. The route straightens out again and intersects CR 1 and MN 19 at diamond interchanges spaced three miles (4.8 km) apart. It briefly enters Scott County where it meets CR 2 near Elko New Market. It then enters Dakota County and the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area.

In southwestern Lakeville, there is a folded diamond interchange with CR 70. Right before a partial cloverleaf interchange with CR 60, the Interstate crosses Marion Lake. Shortly after an interchange with CR 5 and CR 50, there is a park and ride complex on the northbound side of the Interstate. An entrance and exit ramp provide access to the Interstate while two entrances from Kendrick Avenue, a frontage road, provide non-Interstate access to the complex. After the CR 46 interchange, the Interstate enters Burnsville. A half diamond interchange, with only northbound exit and southbound entrance ramps, immediately precedes the split. I-35 splits into I-35W and I-35E (signed for Minneapolis and Saint Paul, respectively).

Northern segment

I-35W and I-35E join again at Columbus, near Forest Lake. The route then continues as I-35. In contrast to the rolling terrain of I-35 south of the Twin Cities area, this region is quite flat. This is the Anoka Sand Plain, an area that was formed by outwash under the last glaciers that lay over this area as they melted. This is an extensive region that continues north for another 20 miles (32 km). The urban sprawl of the northern Twin Cities continues along I-35 to North Branch.

In Pine City and Hinckley, there are museums near I-35: the Pine City one at a refurbished fur trading post and interpretive center and the Hinckley one commemorating the Great Hinckley Forest Fire that occurred in 1894. Motorists who take BL I-35 through Pine City can experience a quintessential all-American main street.

Between Sandstone and Moose Lake, the landscape around I-35 makes a dramatic change. Exposed granite can be seen at the surface, and the deciduous forest changes to evergreens.

I-35 near downtown Duluth

I-35 climbs Thompson Hill as it approaches the city of Duluth. As the highway enters the city limits at Boundary Avenue, the Saint Louis Bay and Lake Superior are in view. I-35 then descends Thompson Hill into Duluth, with numerous exits. The freeway has an interchange with I-535/US 53, known locally as the "Can of Worms". The junction features a pair of left exits from I-35, a stoplight, and lane drops over the I-35 bridge.

I-35 then proceeds to downtown Duluth. After multiple exits, I-35 leaves the downtown area and follows the Lake Superior shoreline for two miles (3.2 km) to its national northern terminus at its junction with MN 61 and 26th Avenue East. At this junction where I-35 ends, MN 61 begins its route northeast along the North Shore of Lake Superior.


I-35 in Minnesota was authorized as part of the primary Interstate network in 1956. It was mostly constructed in the 1960s. The route in Minnesota replaced portions of old US 61 and old US 65.

I-35 was generally constructed along former routes of US 65 south of the Twin Cities and US 61 north of the Twin Cities.

The first section to be constructed (the first Interstate Highway opened in Minnesota) was about 10 miles (16 km) north of Owatonna, immediately west of present-day Steele CR 45 and Rice CR 45, which opened August 21, 1958.

By 1961, the section of I-35 around Hinckley and Sandstone was under construction.

Three lanes each way have been constructed on I-35 between the I-35E/I-35W split at Columbus to US 8 at Forest Lake. Three lanes have also been constructed on I-35 northbound at Thompson Hill, right before entering the city of Duluth. Additionally, three lanes have been constructed on I-35 southbound in Duluth at Thompson Hill between Central Avenue and US 2 westbound. Three lanes in each direction have also been constructed on I-35 in Duluth between the Can of Worms interchange (I-535/US 53) and the Mesaba Avenue interchange.

From November 1971 to October 1987, the national northern terminus for I-35 was its interchange with Mesaba Avenue in Duluth.

The last section of I-35 in Minnesota to be constructed was around downtown Duluth. The I-35 extension to Lake Avenue in Duluth was open to traffic in October 1987. The temporary I-35 extension to 10th Avenue East in Duluth was open to traffic in November 1989. The I-35 extension to its present-day junction with 26th Avenue East and MN 61 in Duluth was open to traffic in October 1992 after the construction of the Leif Erickson Tunnel. The section marked the final segment of the I-35 to be opened, and one of the last segments of the original Interstate Highway System.[5][6]

In 2002, all of I-35 in the state of Minnesota, from the Iowa state line to the city of Duluth, was officially designated the Red Bull Highway, after the 34th Infantry (Red Bull) Division,[4] though plans to create signage never came to fruition. In practice, this name is seldom, if ever, used.

Exit list

MinnesotaIowa line0.0000.000

I-35 south / Iowa 27 south – Des Moines
Continuation into Iowa
FreebornFreeman Township2.492–
2 CSAH 5
5.2768.4915 CSAH 13 – Twin Lakes, Glenville
Albert Lea7.987–
I-35 BL north / US 65 – Albert Lea, Glenville
11.49818.50411 CSAH 46 – Albert LeaFormer US-16

I-35 BL south / US 65 south – Albert Lea
Southbound exit and northbound entrance; northern terminus of US 65
Bancroft Township13.24721.31913 I-90 – La Crosse, Sioux FallsSigned as exits 13A (east) and 13B (west); I-90 exit 159
Clarks Grove18.74530.16718
MN 251 east – Clarks Grove, Hollandale
Geneva Township22.96336.95522 CSAH 35 – Hartland, Geneva
SteeleSummit Township26.64042.87326 MN 30 – New Richland, Blooming Prairie
Somerset Township32.81752.81432 CSAH 4 – Hope
US 14 / US 218 south – Waseca, Rochester, Austin
Former southern end of US 14 concurrency; northern terminus of US 218
41.76667.21641Bridge Street
42.50968.41242 CSAH 45 / CSAH 2Former northern end of US 14 concurrency; signed as exits 42A (east) and 42B (west)
43 CSAH 34 (26th Street)
45 CSAH 9 – Clinton Falls
Medford48.05777.34048 CSAH 12 / CSAH 23 – Medford
RiceFaribault55.59089.46355 I-35 BL / CSAH 48 / Lyndale Avenue – FaribaultNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
56.91891.60156 MN 60 – Faribault, Waterville
59.10795.12359 I-35 BL / MN 21 – Faribault, Le Center
Forest Township66.696107.33766 CSAH 1 – Montgomery, Dundas
Webster Township69.679112.13769 MN 19 – Northfield, New Prague, LonsdaleAccess to Northfield City Hospital
ScottNew Market Township76.841123.66476 CSAH 2 – Elko New Market
DakotaLakeville81.842131.71281 CSAH 70 – Lakeville, Farmington
84.340135.73284 CSAH 60 (185th Street West)
85.509137.61385 CSAH 5 / CSAH 50
85.953138.328Kenrick Avenue Park and Ride stationBuses only; northbound exit and entrance
86.636139.42786 CSAH 46Public access to Kenrick Avenue Park and Ride station
Burnsville87.824141.33987Crystal Lake RoadNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
I-35W north – Minneapolis

I-35E north – St. Paul
I-35 north splits into I-35W and I-35E; left exit 88A is for I-35W
See I-35W and I-35E
I-35W south – Minneapolis

I-35E south – St. Paul
I-35 south splits into I-35W and I-35E; exit number is for I-35W
129.467208.357129 MN 97 / CSAH 23
WashingtonForest Lake131.773212.068131
CSAH 2 to US 8 – Forest Lake
US 8 east – Taylors Falls
Northbound exit and southbound entrance; western terminus of US 8
US 61 south / CSAH 22 – Wyoming
Northern terminus of US 61
Stacy139.983225.281139 CSAH 19 – Stacy
Lent Township143.762231.363143 CSAH 17
North Branch147.928238.067147 MN 95 – Cambridge, North Branch
Harris152.610245.602152 CSAH 10 – Harris
Rush City159.994257.485159 CSAH 1 – Rush City
PineRock Creek165.707266.680165 MN 70 – Rock Creek, Grantsburg
Pine City169.567272.892169 I-35 BL / CSAH 7 – Pine City
171.358275.774171 I-35 BL / CSAH 11
Mission Creek Township175.350282.198175 CSAH 14 – Beroun

MN 23 west / CSAH 61 south – Mora
Southern end of MN 23 concurrency
MN 48 east (Fire Monument Road) / CSAH 61 (Old Highway 61) – Hinckley
Western terminus of MN 48; access to CSAH 61 via CSAH 61 Spur (Fire Monument Rd. west)
MN 23 east / CSAH 61 – Sandstone
Northern end of MN 23 concurrency; former US 61
Finlayson Township195.615314.812195 MN 18 / MN 23 – Askov, Finlayson
Willow River205.477330.683205 CSAH 43 – Bruno, Willow River
Windemere Township209.889337.784209 CSAH 46 – Sturgeon Lake
CarltonMoose Lake214.694345.517214 MN 73 – Moose Lake
Moose Lake Township216.080347.747216 MN 27 / CSAH 8 – Moose LakeSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
Barnum220.637355.081220 CSAH 6 – Barnum
Mahtowa Township227.354365.891227 CSAH 4 – Mahtowa, Wrenshall
Twin Lakes Township235.487378.980235 MN 210 – Carlton, Cromwell
Cloquet237.227381.780237 MN 33 – Cloquet, Iron Range

MN 45 south / CSAH 45 north – Cloquet, Scanlon
Thomson Township242.157389.714242 CSAH 1 – Thomson, Esko
CarltonSt. Louis
county line
township line
245 CSAH 61
St. LouisMidway Township246.351–
246 CSAH 13 (Midway Road)
Proctor249.627401.736249Boundary Avenue / Skyline Parkway
US 2 west – Grand Rapids, Proctor
Southern end of US 2 concurrency; southbound exit and northbound entrance
251ACody StreetNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
252.054405.642251B MN 23 (Grand Avenue)Southbound exit and northbound entrance
252.419406.229252Central Avenue

US 2 east / LSCT east (Bong Bridge) – Wisconsin
Northern end of US 2 concurrency; southern end of LSCT concurrency
253.701408.292253B40th Avenue West
254.845410.13325427th Avenue West
I-535 south / US 53 (21st Avenue West) – Wisconsin
Signed as exits 255A (north) and 255B (south); northern terminus of I-535
256A MN 194 (Mesaba Avenue) / Superior StreetNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
256B5th Avenue West / Lake Avenue
259.062416.92025821st Avenue EastNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
MN 61 / LSCT north (London Road) / 26th Avenue – North Shore
National northern terminus; northbound exit only; northern end of LSCT concurrency; London Rd. is former US 61; road continues west as 26th Avenue
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ "Todd Hale: 1958 Owatonna road construction had national flair". Owatonna People's Press. March 17, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  2. ^ Gyure, Joseph. "Interstate 35 dramatically changed Waco's face". Waco Tribune-Herald. Retrieved November 23, 2014 – via Waco History Project.
  3. ^ "Table 1: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration.
  4. ^ a b 2000 Minn. Laws ch. 281, codified at Minn. Stat. 161.14 subd. 46.
  5. ^ "Ribbon cutting for interstate". Oshkosh Northwestern. October 26, 1992. p. 11. Retrieved June 20, 2018 – via
  6. ^ Weingroff, Richard F. (January 2006). "The Year of The Interstate". Public Roads. Federal Highway Administration. 69 (4). Retrieved June 20, 2018.

External links

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