Greenway bridges

There are 26 historic bridges along the Midtown Greenway originally built between 1912 and 1916. Because of their age and varying conditions, many of these historic bridges will need some form of repair or replacement in the coming years.

Hennepin County is working with a variety of partners, including state historical offices and other agencies, to maintain service and safety of the Greenway bridges, while honoring the historic character of the corridor.

Fremont Avenue Bridge over the Midtown Greenway 

The Fremont Avenue Bridge replacement project is the current Greenway Bridges project. Construction includes removing the old structure and pouring a new bridge deck and foundation. Residents who walk, bike, roll, driver or use transit in the area will benefit from the reconstruction. 

The project began summer 2019 and is anticipated to be complete in fall 2020.

timeline

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Construction updates

Bridge beams setting complete

Midtown Greenway is now open

On Tuesday, June 30, crews completed bridge beam work at Fremont Avenue, and the Midtown Greenway trail is now open.

Bridge deck construction begins July 1

On Wednesday, July 1, crews will construct the bridge deck. This involves building temporary scaffolding around the bridge to protect the trail users below during deck construction. Bridge deck work will take up to three weeks to complete, as the concrete needs time to cure or set. The Greenway trail will reopen during this work.

Final phase of construction coming up

Following the bridge deck construction, crews will begin the final phase of construction. Crews will complete the remaining concrete work, including sidewalks, railings, pedestrian ramps and paneling. They also will pave the bridge roadway and place permanent striping on the bridge and trail below.

Weather permitting, we expect to reopen the Fremont Avenue Bridge by late summer.

Expect short-term closures

People should anticipate some short-term closures during the final phase of construction. These activities will require the use of the temporary reroute on 28th Street. We will let people know about these closures on our project website, through these updates and with signage on site.

Project information

What to expect in 2020

Last year, crews removed the existing bridge and were able to install the shoring system for deep excavations and replace the city’s underground watermain. Crews also made significant progress constructing the bridge abutments. This was some of the more intensive work for the project. 

This year, crews are constructing the new bridge including: 

  • New piers and foundation 
  • New deck with wider sidewalks along both sides of the bridge 
  • ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps at the bridge approaches

Expect impacts 

There will be closures in the immediate area around the bridge and on the Midtown Greenway in order for crews to efficiently and safely complete the remaining bridge work. 

Temporary closures and reroute of the Midtown Greenway

We anticipate to close the Greenway to construct the bridge pier and pave the permanent trail.

There will also be intermittent closures when crews are installing the new bridge beams and constructing the new bridge deck. We will send updates and post information along the routes prior to the closures. 

Closures on 29th Street and Fremont Avenue 

Two nearby roads will continue to be impacted during construction: 29th Street between Fremont and Emerson avenues will be closed; and Fremont Avenue immediately north and south of the bridge will close intermittently. 

Please be aware that this will affect MetroTransit bus routes, delivery routes to businesses and street parking for residents and nearby businesses. 

Crossing the Greenway 

People will continue to have access to Girard and Emerson avenues for crossing over the Greenway. 

Public involvement

Fremont Avenue Bridge

Planning and early design open house

Hennepin County held a public open house for the planned Fremont Avenue Bridge project, on February 28, 2018 at the Hennepin County Walker Library in Minneapolis.

Materials from the open house are attached below.

Preserving historic places

The Fremont Avenue Bridge, which was originally constructed in 1913, is a significant feature of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Grade Separation Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Because federal funds are being used for this project, it is being reviewed as part of compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires consideration for the impacts on historic properties.

History of the Midtown Greenway Bridges

The Midtown Greenway is a 5.5-mile-long former railroad corridor in south Minneapolis with bicycling and walking trails. Along the Midtown Greenway, there are 26 historic bridges, all built between 1912 and 1916. These century-old bridges are part of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Grade Separation Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Path to the Midtown Greenway: Revival of a community asset

Historic District

The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Grade Separation Historic District is a 2.8-mile-long transportation district formed by a depressed railroad trench that follows a linear path from Humboldt Avenue South (on the west end) to Cedar Avenue, where it then curves northward to meet 28th Street East at its eastern terminus. The historic district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

In the late nineteenth century, south Minneapolis experienced rapid growth whereby development leapfrogged the at-grade railway. This created many at-grade street crossings of the rail line, greatly increasing conflicts between residents and trains. The city requested the railroad provide safe crossings by lowering their tracks and constructing a bridge structure at each crossing. The resulting set of bridges created a consistent transportation grid over the rail trench.

Midtown Corridor Historic Bridge Study

In 2007, the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County Public Works, Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA), and other partners conducted a study of the Midtown Greenway historic bridges bridges. The study included:

  • Structural and functional conditions of the bridges
  • Potential repair or rehabilitation limitations
  • Original construction methods
  • Potential recommendations for each bridge, timeline and cost
  • Foreseeable effects of additional bridge removals on the historic district

Midtown Corridor Historic Bridge study (PDF 8MB)

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