Orange Line View North

METRO Orange Line - Knox Avenue Transitway


What is the scope of the project?

The METRO Orange Line is a 17-mile planned highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line that will connect Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington, and Burnsville along I-35W. The Orange Line will provide frequent, all-day service in both directions, seven days a week.

A transitway will be built along Knox Avenue S, beneath I-494, to connect the Knox Ave S & W 76th St and Knox Ave S & American Blvd stations. Along with transit-only lanes, the Knox Avenue S Transitway will include a multi-use trail for pedestrians and bicyclists. The Knox Avenue S Transitway will make the trip between I-35W & W 98th St and I-35W & W 66th St stations 45-55 percent faster than current conditions on the Route 535.

Anticipated traffic impacts

The contractor will be utilizing temporary bypasses on I-494 to construct the underground transitway in two phases in 2020 and 2021. In order build the bypasses, the contractor will be utilizing temporary lane and ramp closures of I-494 in 2019. 

Southtown Boulevard north of American Boulevard will be closed to thru traffic for the duration of the project. The private road north of American Blvd & Knox Ave S will be closed to thru traffic. Access to local business will remain open at all times.

How is the project funded?

Funding commitments for the Orange Line have been provided by the Counties Transit Improvement Board, the State of Minnesota, the Metropolitan Council, Hennepin County, Dakota County, and the Federal government. The estimated construction cost for the entire Orange Line BRT transit project is $150.7 million.

What is the project's schedule?

The contractor will spend the remainder of 2019 relocating utilities and building the bypass on I-494. The underground transitway tunnel construction will begin in 2020 and finish in 2021. Fare service on the METRO Orange is scheduled to begin in 2021.


For additional project information and updates, please visit the METRO Orange Line website and subscribe to their construction bulletin.

April 2020

April 17, 2020

Starting Thursday, April 23, the southbound I-35W to westbound I-494 ramp will be closed for approximately four months to build the north half of the transitway tunnel under I-494 at Knox Avenue. 

The designated detour will be westbound Hwy 62 to southbound Hwy 100 to I-494. Ramps from southbound I-35W to 76th St or 82nd St to Penn Ave will remain open. The ramp closure will not affect Metro Transit service.

  • The ramp from southbound I-35W to 82nd St to Penn Ave will remain open. 
  • The ramp from southbound I-35W to 76th St will close Monday, April 27 to Monday, May 4 for the MnDOT I-35W Concrete Pavement Rehabilitation project.  
    • Detour: I-35W to eastbound I-494, to northbound I-35W, to westbound I-494, to northbound Penn Ave