Greenway bridges

Portland Avenue (County Road 35) and Cedar Avenue (County Road 152) Midtown Greenway bridges reconstruction projects 

Hennepin County is reconstructing the Portland Avenue (County Road 35) and Cedar Avenue (County Road 152) bridges over the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis in 2017.

Reconstruction is needed to address safety and structural issues due to the age of the bridges. Both of the century-old bridges will be reconstructed in their original historic style, and receive design and functional improvements.

Work is expected to take place over one construction season, beginning in early spring 2017 and lasting through the end of construction season in the fall - likely towards the end of November.

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Construction updates

Updated October 2017

Beam setting scheduled for Cedar Avenue bridge Tuesday, September 26

Overnight work will include intermittent, minor trail impacts Crews are scheduled to set bridge beams at Cedar Avenue (County Road 152) the evening of Tuesday, September 26. To minimize impacts to trail and road users in the area, this work will occur over-night, and is expected to be complete by early morning the next day.  The greenway trail will be closed for short intervals (30 minutes or less) while individual beams are put into place and secured. Flagging crews will be present to guide trail traffic to ensure the safety of trail users and crew members.Beams for the Portland Avenue (County Road 35) bridge are also scheduled to be set in a similar fashion the first week in October.

Projects remain on schedule for late-November completion

Work on both bridges remains on track to have the roads reopened to traffic towards the end of November, as originally planned. 

Setting the bridge beams is a major landmark and indicates the beginning of the final stretch of construction. Once the beams are set, crews will begin to install the bridge deck, then pavement, sidewalks, railings, and other finishing touches before the bridge is reopened to traffic. 

Compared to the labor and time-intensive work of setting the bridge foundation and building the piers and abutments, this next phase of work will move relatively quickly. All work and timelines are weather-dependent and subject to change.

Bridge deck going in at Cedar week of October 16

Next week, crews will begin constructing the bridge deck at Cedar Avenue (County Road 152). This work involves constructing a form that will be filled with concrete, creating the bridge deck andtravel surface. This work is expected to be complete towards the middle of the week of October 16, weather permitting. The concrete bridge pour and paving will follow soon after.

Expect minor trail impacts during bridge deck work

To help keep trail users and crew members safe, there may be temporary trail realignments and impacts during the deck work. Flaggers will be present to direct trail traffic as needed, including some very short-term trail closures while materials are being moved directly over the path. Commuters and trail users should allow extra time to get to their destination if traveling on the greenway.

Trail closure at Portland expected week of October 23

A full closure of the greenway trail is expected to occur during the week of October 23 for crews to complete installation of a new watermain pipe that will cross beneath the trail. This closure is expected to last five days, with the trail reopening by end-of-day Friday, October 27.
 
During this closure, trail traffic should follow the marked detour:
  • Park Avenue (existing bike lane for southbound, temporary contraflow bike lane for northbound)
  • East 28th Street (temporary two-way protected bike lane on south side of street)
  • 5th Avenue South (shared roadway use)
To minimize trail impacts, crews also plan to install the bridge deck at Portland during this closure. This work is all weather-dependent and subject to change.
 

PHOTOS: Setting Cedar Avenue bridge beams, September 27

The 450-ton crane used to set the bridge beams at Cedar

A special 450-ton crane was brought in to set the bridge beams at Cedar. An even larger 550-ton crane will be brought in to set the beams at Portland next week. These are some of the largest mobile cranes readily available in the state.

A worker guides one of the bridge beams into place as it is lowered down with a 450-ton crane

Each one of the bridge beams at Cedar are manually guided into place to within a quarter-inch accuracy. The beams are intentionally built with a slight bow (or camber). When the extra weight of the bridge deck is applied, they straighten out. This increases the strength of the bridge by accommodating for the added stress that will be applied to the beams from the weight of the bridge deck and traffic.

One of the 13 beams being lowered into place as viewed from below on the Greenway trail.

Each beam is custom-made for the specific conditions of individual bridges. Each of the 13 beams for the Cedar Avenue bridge is about 95 feet long and weighs around 58,000 pounds.

 

Detours, closures and travel considerations

Updated October 2017

Both Portland and Cedar Avenues are closed to all traffic between 28th Street and Lake Street for the reconstruction of the bridges over the Midtown Greenway. These routes will be closed until the end of construction later this fall, likely towards the end of November.

Trail impacts will be minimized whenever possible, but occasional closures, detours and other impacts should be expected throughout 2017. Work impacting trail users will generally be staggered to avoid simultaneous closures at both locations, and weekend closures of the trail will be avoided, whenever possible.

Upcoming greenway trail closures 

Trail closure at Portland expected week of October 23

A full closure of the greenway trail is expected to occur during the week of October 23 for crews to complete installation of a new watermain pipe that will cross beneath the trail. This closure is expected to last five days, with the trail reopening by end-of-day Friday, October 27.

During this closure, trail traffic should follow the marked detour:

  • Park Avenue (existing bike lane for southbound, temporary contraflow bike lane for northbound)
  • East 28th Street (temporary two-way protected bike lane on south side of street)
  • 5th Avenue South (shared roadway use)

To minimize trail impacts, crews also plan to install the bridge deck at Portland during this closure. This work is all weather-dependent and subject to change.

Intermittent minor trail impacts during bridge deck work at Cedar week of October 16

To help keep trail users and crew members safe, there may be temporary trail realignments and impacts during  bridge deck installation work. Flaggers will be present to direct trail traffic as needed, including some very short-term trail closures while materials are being moved directly over the path. Commuters and trail users should allow extra time to get to their destination if traveling on the greenway.

MnDOT's 35W@94 project closes Portland bridge over I-94

As part of the multi-year reconstruction of I-35W that began fall 2017, the Minnesota Department of Transportation recently closed the Portland Avenue bridge over I-94. It is expected to reopen before winter, then close again next year.

Hennepin County has been working closely with MnDOT to coordinate work and detours between these projects to minimize impacts on the traveling public. 

It was in anticipation of this major project that Hennepin County moved up the reconstruction of both the Portland and Cedar Avenue bridges to this year. We are also using several innovative construction techniques to complete both bridges in a single season.  

Learn more about the 35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown project on the MnDOT website

Portland Avenue bridge detours

Trail

  • Park Avenue (existing bike lane for southbound, temporary contraflow bike lane for northbound)
  • East 28th Street (temporary two-way protected bike lane on south side of street)
  • 5th Avenue South (shared roadway use)

Road (motor vehicles)

  • Franklin Avenue (County Road 5)
  • Chicago Avenue South
  • Lake Street (County Road 3)

Road (bikes)

  • East 28th Street
  • 4th Avenue South
  • East 32nd Street

Portland detour graphics (PDF)

Cedar Avenue bridge detours

Trail

  • 18th Avenue South (shared roadway use)
  • East 28th Street (temporary two-way protected bike lane on south side of street)

Road

  • Lake Street (County Road 3)
  • Hiawatha Avenue (Highway 55)

Cedar detour graphics (PDF)

Project information

Hennepin County is reconstructing the Portland Avenue and Cedar Avenue bridges over the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis in 2017. To minimize impacts on trail and road users, reconstruction work will occur on both bridges simultaneously and major closures will be coordinated between the two projects when possible.

Reconstruction of the bridges is needed to address safety and structural issues due to the age of the bridges.

Portland Avenue layout (PDF)

Cedar Avenue layout (PDF)

Design changes

During reconstruction, improvements will be made to the design and function of the bridges, while maintaining their historic architectural styles.

Portland Avenue planned improvements

  • Widening sidewalk on bridge deck from eight to 10 feet
  • Changing traffic lanes from three ten-foot through lanes to two 13-foot through lanes
  • Adding a three-foot buffer to the existing 6-foot bike lane
  • Adaptable design to accommodate possible future transit infrastructure

Portland Avenue bridge cross section (PDF)

Cedar Avenue planned improvements

  • Widening sidewalk on bridge deck from eight to 10 feet
  • Changing traffic lanes from four 10-foot lane through lanes to two 11-foot through lanes and two 13-foot through lanes
  • Adding structural reinforcements beneath the bridge deck to extend longevity
  • Adaptable design to accommodate possible future transit infrastructure

Cedar Ave bridge cross section (PDF)

Construction Timeline

Construction work is expected to begin in early spring 2017 and last through fall 2017.

Public involvement

Upcoming engagement activities

There are no upcoming engagement activities scheduled at this time.

Past public engagement activities

  • Project staff presented plans for the Cedar and Portland bridge reconstructions at the Midtown Philips neighborhood meeting on March 28, 2017. The meeting was held at Abubakar As Saddique Islamic Center.
  • Community open house on Wednesday February 15, 2017 at the Midtown Greenway Coalition offices.
  • Project staff presented plans for the Cedar Avenue bridge reconstruction at the East Phillips Improvement Coalition neighborhood meeting on February 9, 2017. The meeting was held at East Philips Park Cultural and Community Center.
  • Project open house on August 24, 2016 at the Midtown Greenway Coalition offices  to present preliminary designs and gather public feedback.
  • A "pop-up" meeting held on the Greenway on August 31, 2016 to present preliminary designs and gather public feedback.

Open House and "pop-up" meeting presentation boards (PDF)

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