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 wide 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.

Current projects

Fremont Avenue Bridge

Starting in 2018, Hennepin County is leading outreach and design efforts for the Fremont Avenue Bridge project, which is expected to occur in 2019.

Portland and Cedar Avenue bridges

In 2017, Hennepin County completed major reconstruction activities on both the Portland Avenue (County Road 35) and Cedar Avenue (County Road 152) bridges over the greenway. Crews will return in early 2018 to complete final construction tasks.

Sign up for project updates

Expand all information

Project updates

Fremont Avenue Bridge

You are invited to an open house

Hennepin County is hosting a public open house for the planned Fremont Avenue Bridge project, which is expected to begin in 2019, in Minneapolis.

  • Wednesday, February 28, 2018
  • 6 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Hennepin County Library – Walker
    2880 Hennepin Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN 55408

There will be a short presentation, followed by open time to discuss project details with staff. You’re welcome to share comments and feedback directly or submit them in writing or online.

If you are unable to attend the open house, materials and comment forms will be available on this web page starting February 28.

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.

You are invited to share information about any historic properties near the Fremont Avenue Bridge, and are encouraged to share concerns about the impact of construction on the bridge and historic district.

Portland and Cedar avenue bridges

Both bridges reopen to traffic

Both the Portland (County Road 35) and Cedar Avenue (County Road 152) bridges over the Midtown Greenway are reopen to traffic. The Cedar Avenue bridge reopened Thursday, December 21. The Portland Avenue bridge reopened Friday, December 22.

To safely reopen both roads for the winter, crews were able to complete most major construction activities on both bridges. Some curbs, sidewalks and striping are temporary treatments and will be replaced with permanent installations first thing in the spring. Additionally, the sidewalk on the west side of the Portland Avenue bridge may remain closed for the winter.

Final work to be complete in 2018

Other work remaining for 2018 includes:

  • Installing permanent curbs, sidewalks and striping
  • Final decorative rail installation in certain locations
  • Final concrete finishing and painting
  • Planting and landscaping

These final tasks should not require full closures of either roadway and crews will work to keep other traffic disruptions to a minimum, whenever possible.

Detours, closures and travel considerations

The Fremont Avenue Bridge is closed to vehicular traffic.

Both the Portland and Cedar Avenue bridges over the Midtown Greenway are reopen to traffic. The Midtown Greenway also remains open and has been returned to it's permanent alignment. Crews will return in the spring to complete final work. Spring 2018 construction activities are not anticipated to require full closures, but may involve temporary lane reductions and other minor impacts.

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

Fremont Avenue Bridge

Hennepin County is currently gathering information and planning for the Fremont Avenue Bridge project, expected to begin in 2019. Due to safety concerns related to the age and condition of the bridge, it was closed to motorized vehicle traffic in 2016. The project will aim to reopen the bridge to all traffic.

Portland and Cedar Avenue bridges

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.

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)

Public involvement

Fremont Avenue Bridge

Open house Wednesday, February 28

The first public engagement event for the Fremont Avenue Bridge project will be a public open house.

  • Wednesday, February 28
  • 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Hennepin County Library – Walker
    2880 Hennepin Avenue
    Minneapolis, MN, 55408

Please see details in the "project updates" section above.

If you are unable to attend the open house, check back here for informational materials and an online comment form, coming soon.

Portland and Cedar Avenue bridges

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)

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. 

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)

Collapse all information
Top