The Twin Ports Interchange is a MnDOT project that was let in 2020 to reconstruct the I-35/I-535/Hwy 53 interchange (affectionately refered to as the "Can of Worms") in order to improve safety by:
- Providing a new conventional design
- Relocating all exits and entrances to the right side of the roadway
- Improving merging sight distance and eliminating merge conflicts
- Eliminating weaving problems near the interchange
- Providing lane continuity for through I-35 traffic
Once completed, this project will enhance safety by eliminating blind merges and left exits, replacing aging infrastructure, and better accommodating freight movements through the interchanges next to the Clure Public Terminal.
Ames-Kraemer Joint Venture (AKJV) successfully bid the project, and since October of 2020 work has been continuously underway.
A unique facet of this project is the number of women working on it! AGC staff had the opportunity to tour the project and meet many of the women working on many areas, from project managers, engineers, field supervisors, carpenters, laborers, operators, truck drivers, and environmental supervisors!
Scroll down and click the images of the women below
to learn a little more about each project team member!
View all the photos of our project visit!
There's one female face conspicuously absent on the Twin Ports Interchange Project. Roberta Dwyer (1958-2020) was a civil engineer who graduated from the U of M in 1982 and worked for 39 years at MnDOT, starting her career as one of their first female engineers. In her tenure at MnDOT, Roberta oversaw some of the most complex projects in the District 1 Duluth office. She finished her career having worked on some of the largest transportation initiatives in the Northland.
Pat Huston, Assistant District Engineer Major Projects for MnDOT in District 1, had this to say about Roberta's legacy on the project:
In regard to TPI, Roberta was the PM from the beginning. She initiated the project and was the point person for the project prior to a dedicated team being assigned. She began the early work in about 2016, moving the project forward. In 2018, we had a formal team assembled and moved down to our current office at Railroad Street. Roberta had a vast and broad background in many areas and this was instrumental in developing the TPI project. She wore many hats at one time. She had experience in project management, right-of-way, traffic engineering, consultant contracts and agreements. Through her years with MnDOT, she worked in a wide variety of positions – not only gaining experience, but developing many relationships throughout MnDOT, the consultant community and the highway/heavy contracting industry. She was widely known, widely respected and pretty much worked on our most complex projects in NE Minnesota.
Back in the early 2000s, Roberta was the first PM to follow a project from cradle to grave – helping construction with commitments made during project development. The first project this occurred on was the reconstruction of TH 53/Piedmont Avenue, which was an Ames project and I was the MnDOT Project Engineer. This was the start of many projects that Roberta and I worked on together, including two more up 53 in Duluth (Trinity Road reconstruction to the mall, and then we led the MnDOT/County/City “Mall Project” that included TH 53/TH 194, Mall Drive and Maple Grove Road on both sides of TH 53). Later, Roberta was the PM for a period of time on the TH 53 Relocation Project in Virginia. We worked together on this until about 2015.
Her work ethic was legendary. It did not matter what day of the week or time of the day it was, she could be found at District 1 HQ. She was very dedicated to MnDOT and our industry. Roberta was one of the few early woman engineers at MnDOT, and she paved the way for many in her footsteps.
In honor of Roberta, the AKJV safety vests display a prominent "RD" on the back.