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

Fremont Avenue Bridge reopens

The Fremont Avenue Bridge over the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis is now open. Major construction activities are now complete.

This means that you can now drive, bike, walk and roll on the Fremont Avenue Bridge.

The new bridge offers improvements, such as wider sidewalks and ramps that meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, providing a safer and better travel experience for all.

Minor activities remain

The bridge is open, but the project is not fully complete. Construction staff continue to work on the bridge, including minor construction activities such as painting, installing panels and cleaning up the project area to close out the project.

If you see crews working on the bridge, please use caution when traveling through.

Fremont Avenue Bridge deck

View of the new Fremont Avenue Bridge

Pedestrian ramps on the bridge that meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards

New pedestrian ramps on the Fremont Avenue Bridge that meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

View of the Midtown Greenway at Fremont Avenue

View of the reopened bridge and the Midtown Greenway.

Anticipate a short-term Greenway closure later this fall

Construction crews will need to close the Midtown Greenway for one final time this fall to allow crews to install the panels that will cover the beams on the underside of the bridge deck.

The panel’s design feature will help preserve the historic character of the corridor by matching the appearance of the other historic bridges along the Greenway. We will provide updates once the date is finalized.

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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