Metro Freeway Project Approval

The Metropolitan Council is responsible for approving freeways within the seven-county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. Metro Freeway Approvals in Minnesota Statute 473.166 exists so that freeways in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area are developed consistently with the region’s long-range Transportation Policy Plan.

The law applies to projects within the Metropolitan Council region. That includes the following counties with certain exceptions: Anoka; Carver; Dakota, except Northfield and Cannon Falls; Hennepin, except Hanover and Rockford; Ramsey; Scott, except New Prague; and Washington.


  • Develop a proposal from concept through the environmental process with ongoing coordination with Metropolitan Council staff.
  • Submit a final environmental document with a cover letter that summarizes the proposal and the needs that it addresses with a request for Metro Freeway Project Approval.
  • Metropolitan Council staff presents this request to the Council’s Transportation Committee.
  • The Transportation Committee makes a recommendation for full Council action within approximately 60 days of the Council receiving the original approval request.
  • Metropolitan Council staff notify the project sponsor of the results.

Ongoing coordination throughout project development is essential. The formal Metro Freeway Approval request typically happens toward the end of the planning process, once an environmental document is completed. However, the approval must take place before the project right-of-way is purchased or construction begins.


“Controlled access highway” in statute is interpreted to mean an existing or developing freeway. Projects that must request approval include new interchanges, additional freeway access at an existing interchange, new freeway through lanes, new MnPASS lanes, or new freeway auxiliary lanes. Over 50 highway projects have been approved through this process since 1974. Examples of past, approved projects include:

Contact us

For more information regarding the specific technical and process questions along with formal Metro Freeway Project Approval submissions, contact Tony Fischer at or 651-602-1703.