Saving the best for last? Maybe. Shepard Road/Warner Road starts at the end of the Mississippi River Blvd which isn’t included in this shortcut because unlike SRWR it isn’t 4 lanes and has significant bike traffic with a lower 30mph speed limit. SRWR runs along the river from MN 5 (Yes, the one that goes to the airport) along the river to I-35E continuing between the river and downtown St. Paul ending up connecting to US10/61/I-94 on the eastern portion of the city. There are many benefits to using this roadway as a shortcut:
- Avoid taking West 7th/Ford Rd to downtown, missing numerous stoplights and significantly more traffic on a two lane road.
- It is a great alternative to I-35E when it is closed or partially shut down for what seems more and more often for various forms of construction.
- Even as an alternative to West 7th it offers many “drop off points” to still take advantage of arguably the best neighborhood in St. Paul at Otto, Randolph, and Chestnut (near downtown).
- As an added benefit it is rather scenic running along the Mississippi River.
I have known about the Shepard Road/Warner Road connection for a while, but haven’t realized how useful it is till recently in getting me to the airport and avoiding driving the length of West 7th (at 30 mph) or needing to take I-35E south to I-494 adding several miles to a quick trip to the Mall of America. The one thing to watch out for is this road has been known to close for various runs, flooding, and other mysterious events so being aware of these things can make a big difference in planning it’s use.
I know there are many more windy roads and shortcuts through the Twin Cities, so if you frequently use one or it has bailed you out of being tied up make sure to share it with everyone else below. The three I have covered seem to be the biggest standouts to me due to their higher speed limits, avoiding specific obstacles, and almost always being vacant of cars. If you have traveled any of these roads, did you have the same experience?