Metro Freeway Project Approval

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

The law applies to projects within the Met Council region. That includes the following counties with certain exceptions:

  • Anoka County
  • Carver County
  • Dakota County, except Northfield and Cannon Falls
  • Hennepin County, except Hanover and Rockford
  • Ramsey County
  • Scott County, except New Prague
  • Washington County


  • Develop a proposal from concept through the environmental process with ongoing coordination with Met 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.
  • Met Council staff presents this request to the 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:


Bethany Brandt-Sargent
Senior Planner
[email protected]