DULUTH, MN– A Lincoln Park organization is calling on MnDOT to make it easier for pedestrians and drivers to go between Lincoln Park, Canal Park, and Downtown Duluth. And they said the multi-million dollar Twin Ports Interchange Project can pave the way for that plan.
The bulk of the “Can of Worms” project focuses on the area of 21st Avenue West.
But members of the Lincoln Park Business Group are also focusing their attention on an area roughly seven blocks northeast of the interchange.
The proposal calls for a roundabout at Superior Street and Michigan Street that would connect with a new bridge that would also connect to Railroad Street.
Those backing the idea said it would benefit Duluth not only during but after construction, as well.
They said the proposal would better connect bikers and pedestrians in Lincoln Park to areas, like Downtown Duluth and Canal Park.
They also said it would serve as a critical alternative for traffic both during the $342 million revamp of the Can of Worms and during events in Canal Park that often cause massive traffic backups along I-35 and Railroad Street.
It could also provide better access for Lincoln Park neighbors working in and around the Canal area.
“Having this connection just makes it a lot more intuitive, a lot simpler for our tourists as well as for our own residents to get back and forth,” said Shannon Laing, Director of partnership development at Ecolibrium3.
But this addition to the work already planned for the Can of Worms is anything but certain.
MnDOT spokespeople said they don’t know if federal transportation funds could be used a project like this and MnDOT has not yet committed the funds to make it happen.
Earlier this month, the Twin Ports Interchange Project received a $20 million grant to help alleviate costs.
The revamp along 21st Avenue West aims to improve safety and freight mobility on the interchange where I-35, I-535 and Highway 53 all meet.