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Minneapolis, MN  55415-1390

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hiawatha traffic signal map

Hiawatha Traffic Signal Timing Project



The City of Minneapolis is leading a multi-agency effort to improve the traffic signal operations along Minnesota Highway 55 (Hiawatha Avenue) through south Minneapolis adjacent to the Hiawatha light-rail line. The operation and frequency of the light-rail trains causes railroad crossing gates to go down for cross streets and traffic signals to change their sequence. This can cause significant traffic delays on cross streets and in left-turn lanes off of Hiawatha. A number of improvements have been made since the light-rail line went into service in 2004. However, significant delays still exist, particularly for east-west street traffic.


The project seeks to reduce motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian delays due to light-rail’s effect on traffic signal timing through the following steps:

·         Revising signal sequencing – Work will focus on changing the pattern of traffic signal phases, particularly when green left turn arrows are signaled. Adjusting the length of traffic signal phases and the actions of the traffic signals when railroad crossing gates need to descend could also improve traffic flow.

·         Replacing traffic signal controllers – In the years since light-rail began service in Minneapolis, better traffic signal control equipment have been developed. The newer equipment, which has software specifically established for roadway signal operations in a light-rail environment, will replace the existing traffic signal controllers along Hiawatha Avenue. 

·         Improving signal detection system -Traffic detectors embedded in the roadway will be expanded and upgraded. These detectors provide information on vehicle presence and flow to the traffic control system, allowing it to effectively allocate time between movements in a real-time basis.

·         Refining rail timing inputs – Although the roadway traffic signal control system is separate from the light-rail system, it receives information from the light-rail system so street traffic can be cleared from tracks in time for the light-rail train to pass through. The timing of these inputs from the light-rail system will be calibrated to match the current operation of light-rail.

This project was developed with partner agencies: The Federal Highway Administration, Metro Transit, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Hennepin County. Expert rail and traffic signal consultants were also involved.


Project Limits:

The project includes traffic signals along Hiawatha Avenue from 26th Street East on the north to 50th Street East on the south. A total of seven signalized intersections are affected.


Length of Construction: 

Project should be completed by the end of 2012.


Contacts: Allan Klugman, P.E.  612-673-2743 

Project Updates:
Look for updates here.

Note: Project information may change due to scheduling, weather, or other factors outside of our control. Listings will be updated as new information becomes available.) Citizens concerned with pedestrian access during construction should contact the project manager directly.

Last updated Apr 16, 2013



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