West 78th Street roundabouts near the intersection of I-494 and US 169.

Meet a Roundabout: I-494 and U.S. 169

West 78th Street roundabouts near the intersection of I-494 and US 169.

Traffic moves smoothly at the West 78th Street roundabouts on the north side of I-494. Video: Author

Last Monday, I drove my father to a doctor’s appointment in Edina. We don’t usually travel these ways, but his regular general practitioner was on vacation.

At the intersection of Interstate 494 and U.S. 169 are six linked roundabouts surrounding the freeway interchange.

Interchange of I-494 and U.S. 169 with six roundabouts. Northeast is up. Map: Google Earth

Interchange of I-494 and U.S. 169 with six roundabouts. Northeast is up. Map: Google Earth

The two-lane roundabouts — with dedicated lanes for going either right or through/left — have a diameter of about 145 ft (44 meters). Single-lane roundabouts — with separate right slip lanes — have a diameter of 130 ft (40 meters). The diameters appear to be designed to improve traffic flow and not slow down traffic by reducing the frequency of yields.

Crosswalks at roundabout near interchange of I-494 and US 169.

Crosswalks at roundabout. Photo: Author

The roundabouts were part of “MnDOT’s $125 million make over of the I-494 and Hwy. 169 interchange in Eden Prairie” that was completed in fall 2012.

The project overall was a finalist for the “American Transportation Award given out annually by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials in concert with AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” according to the Star Tribune.

“Transportation” doesn’t seem to include bike lanes, bus lanes or pedestrian bridges.

Conrad Zbikowski

About Conrad Zbikowski

Downtown Minneapolis resident covering local issues including parks, transportation, zoning, and development.

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