A group of graduate students at the University of Minnesota has proposed creating a new neighborhood east of the new Vikings stadium by putting a lid on top of Interstate 35W.

A conceptual model of that concept was on display this week at the IDS Center's Crystal Court. The project area spanned a 24-block area including 35W southwest of Bobby and Steve's Auto World.

The students at the College of Design proposed capping the freeway with a green open space, then surrounding it with high-density residential buildings.

The freeway lid would also serve as a parking structure for the new district. Existing streets such as 4th Street and 3rd Street -- that were severed by 35W -- would travel through the structure.

"The lid would serve as a backbone for new development by raising local property values. Covered with a green roof, it would create a new park for Minneapolis and the neighborhood's new residents, providing year-round recreation opportunities," read a placard attached to the model. "Buildings next to it would have skyway connections directly to the LRT stations nearby."

The ideal result would be an environment "in which people would like to both live and work." There were many topographical challenges, however.

View 35W Lid in a larger map