Neighbors See Plans to Replace Historic Mpls Bridge

Updated: 04/10/2013 7:38 AM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz

More than four thousand vehicles a day in Northeast Minneapolis use a bridge rated one of the worst in the Metro and soon it will be replaced. Tuesday night people who live in the area got a chance to see plans to replace the historic North Town Bridge, once called The St. Anthony Parkway Bridge.

The 533 foot bridge crosses over two dozen tracks of the Northern Santa Fe rail yard and was built in 1925. It is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and is in two historical districts.
    
"It's an iconic view in Minneapolis," Northeast resident Ciara Schlichting said at Tuesday's meeting.

After decades of use, engineers say the bridge needs to be replaced. It is both structurally deficient and fracture critical.

"The bottom chords of the truss are concrete encased and they are failing and that's an indication that there is rust inside the concrete encasement as well," said City of Minneapolis Bridge Engineer Jack Yuzna.

Out of more than 2,400 Metro bridges that carry vehicular traffic, the St. Anthony Parkway Bridge ranks third lowest based on MnDOT's sufficiency ratings.

"It's done its duty and now it's time for it to be replaced," Yuzna said.

"I don't want to see the real modern, I don't think it's fitting," Northeast resident Loren Martin said at the meeting.

"What's important to me is that the historic character of it remains,"  Schlichting said.

Neighborhood residents were shown a number of options for a replacement bridge including a tied arch design, which some criticized.

Northeast resident Patrick Kvidera said the tied arch might be the best replacement option.

"That's the compromise, kind of the middle of the road," Kvidera said.
   
There will be more chances for public input before construction begins. Some construction is expected to start next year, most construction will happen in 2015. The budget for the project is about $23 million, composed of state, city and federal funding.