By Steve Riner
A history andoverview of Minnesota's highway network from the standpoint of along-time user who enjoys the technical aspects of building andmaintaining highway systems.
Basephoto: Welcome sign on MN-60 SW of Worthington
Perpetually under construction (and notjust from April to October).
Disclaimer. This site is not associated in any way withthe Minnesota Department ofTransportation (MnDOT), which is the official keeper andcustodian of the Minnesota Trunk Highway system. All data hereinare derived by me from various sources, and any opinions orspeculation are mine as well. Readers are invited to comment onmy opinions and also encouraged to contact me to point out anyerroneous information.
About me and my plans for otherhighway sites.
Links to BackgroundInformation on Minnesota Highways
Find out what must happen before a route becomes a trunk highway. Also, learn about what may be the only routes in the country enshrined in a State Constitution. Also on this page is a link to a list of the historic Constitutional Routes, Minnesota's first trunk highways. Funding for highways is also explained here.
Is there a system, or are the numbers assigned to trunk highways randomly? Well, yes and yes. Take a look at the various markers used to point the way to Minnesota trunk highways over the years.
Photo and Map Gallery
Due to loss of files from an associated site, this will need to be rebuilt in the future.
A list of the historic motor trails in Minnesota that pre-date the numbered route system. I now have graphics showing some of the signage used to mark these routes.
Includes a summary of laws affecting highways through the 2000 Legislative session. Does Minnesota build its principal state highways as Michigan or Wisconsin-style freeways or just divided expressways? What are the speed limits, and what are the consequences if you have a few too many before you drive?
Besides state trunk highways, there is also a statewide network of marked county roads. Find out how these are funded and marked, and why the number often seems to change at the county line. Also find out how the trend toward more local control of highways has resulted in a reduction in mileage in the trunk highway system.
Why have a personal web page if I can't spout off? Includes the 5 worst Twin Cities interchanges, and a diagram of the dreaded "Crosstown Commons." And the other usual stuff. No major road rage, though.
Besides the route-specific information accessible from the "explore routes" links below, this page has a separate list of both U.S. and Interstate routes, along with creation and decommissioning dates for U.S. highways. Includes details on U.S. (and one interstate) routes proposed but never marked.
Some ideas of mine for remaking speed limit and railroad crossing signs in a more graphic, European-style manner.
Detailed Lists of MinnesotaTrunk Highways.
Detailed information on all trunk highways, including all U.S.routes (since 1926) that have ever been posted in Minnesota, andall post-1933 state route numbers (until that time, the markedand legislative route numbers were generally the same). Exploreeach route's beginning, end, legislative route number,authorization date, information on improvements and anything elseI can think of that makes it distinctive.
Great River Road
I'm disabling this feature until I can check the status of these ancient links
Sources of Information
I have relied heavily on my personal collection of road maps,both from Minnesota and other states (usually with U.S. maps onthe back). These include the following:
I also reviewed Official Minnesota Highway Maps at theBorchert Map Library at the University of Minnesota WilsonLibrary. Maps reviewed included 1927, 1931, 1934, and 1937. Mapsat MnDOT Library dated 1923, 1927, 1933, 1935 and 1940 were alsoreviewed.
Most graphics are strictly home-made (unless noted otherwise)using Visio and converting to JPEG format. Or, some files aresaved from Visio as .TIF format and converted using MicroGrafxPhoto Magic to a .GIF file. I initially used the FHwA look-alikefont, Blue Highways, once available free from Larabie Graphics onmy sign GIFs. However, I lost this file and found that Larabienow charges for the full set font. Subsequently, I downloaded theRoadgeek 2000 series offered at
Both Andrew Field and Matthew Salek have given meencouragement and suggestions. Adam Froehlig has provided mequite a bit of information from his own research on the historyof and upcoming planning for the Twin Cities freeway system. Infact, Adam has provided more information than I can acknowledge.Monte Castleman has also helped, especially with updates ofinformation. Thanks, Ron Wilbanks, for the authentic old routemarking sign graphics. I also should acknowledge the others whohave developed similar pages and given me ideas and inspiration.
Millions have visited before July 11, 1998, when I startedtracking. Check here for statistics since that time. ExtremeTracking went on-line July 17, 1998. Over 10,000 hits in thefirst year! Only half the usual volume since moving anabbreviated site to AOL, but now that the whole site is back up,I expect this volume to slowly increase again to previous levels.
|Originally uploaded December 19, 1997 onto Frontiernet
|Moved to AOL March 31, 2002
|New steve-riner.com site established January 12 2003
|Last updated December 10, 2021