Rebuild or Restore Old Cedar Avenue Bridge?

Updated: 08/15/2013 12:13 PM By: Jay Kolls

Like it, or not, Minnesota taxpayers are on the hook for millions of dollars to either rebuild or refurbish Old Cedar Avenue Bridge. 

In May the Legislature attached $9 million to the tax bill to rebuild or restore the 90-year-old bridge. Bloomington's City Council will have to decide which option to choose.

One Bloomington City Council member who grew up in the shadows of the bridge already knows which option he prefers.

Tom Hulting says it will cost between $9 million and $12 million to restore and maintain the old bridge into future use for pedestrians and bikers. The bridge has been closed to auto and pedestrian use since 1993.

Hulting says it would be considerably cheaper to tear down the existing bridge and replace it with a modern structure over the Minnesota River. Hulting says that option would cost about $6 million.  Hulting told KSTP, "If we are going to use taxpayers' money to do this, we should do it cost effectively."

Ann Lenczewski chairs the House Tax Committee and put the Old Cedar Avenue Bridge funding in this year's tax bill.

She agreed by phone to an interview with KSTP, as she returned from a trip out of town. But we were unable to connect with her. By phone she told KSTP reporter Jay Kolls, "Thousands of people in Bloomington want this done as a bike path, and if the Bloomington City Council tears it down, they will have to answer to that."

The Bloomington City Council has not yet decided which option to adopt.

Click here to learn about the history of the bridge.