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.

Current project

Fremont Avenue Bridge over the Midtown Greenway

The Fremont Avenue Bridge replacement project began summer 2019. The project is expected to be complete in summer 2020. 

Project timeline for Fremont Avenue Bridge
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Construction updates

Midtown Greenway open at Fremont Avenue

Trail has reopened for full use

The Midtown Greenway at Fremont Avenue is open.

Greenway users should use caution when traveling on the paved temporary trail through this area, as crews will continue to be on site at times. And, people riding bikes should be aware that the bike lane on 28th Street will now return to eastbound-only traffic.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we completed important construction activities that required us to close the Greenway.

Temporary paved trail on the Midtown Greenway at Fremont Avenue

Paved temporary trail on the Midtown Greenway at Fremont Avenue

Anticipate intermittent delays on the trail

For the remainder of 2019, Greenway users should expect intermittent delays, lasting a few minutes, to allow crews to safely bring in bridge construction materials.

Expect shorter-term trail closures next year

Next year, we anticipate additional closures of the Greenway to complete construction activities such as placing the bridge beams, bridge deck and other structural pieces, as well as replacing the temporary trail with a permanent surface.

We anticipate these closures should be shorter in duration. We will let people know about these closures on our project website, through these updates and with signage on site. When necessary, we will use the temporary reroute we used this year.

Construction updates

Crews working on bridge foundation until winter shutdown

During the week of November 23, crews began installing new bridge foundation elements that include abutment footings on both sides of the bridge.

Before work wraps up for the winter, crews plant to continue work on the north abutment. They will be back on site when weather allows next spring.  

Fremont Avenue bridge abutment footings 

Crews installing the new bridge abutment footings prior to building the new bridge abutment at Fremont Avenue. Abutments are supporting structures located at each end of the bridge span.

Closures, impacts and access

Construction impacts in the area

Project leaders are working to minimize construction impacts to the Greenway and in the area as much as possible.

Work on the bridge, the Greenway and adjacent side streets will require coordination among the county, city and utilities, and will take two construction seasons to complete. Crews have been on-site since August 2019 and will work until winter. Crews will return in spring 2020 and complete construction activities in summer 2020.

Fremont Avenue Bridge closed to all users

The bridge is closed for construction activities. People will continue to have access to Girard and Emerson avenues for crossing over the Greenway. 

Closures on 29th Street and Fremont Avenue

Two nearby roads are also impacted: 29th Street between Fremont and Emerson avenues is closed; and Fremont Avenue immediately north and south of the bridge will close intermittently.

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

Fremont Avenue Bridge project information

Improvements to the Fremont Avenue Bridge include:

  • New bridge deck and foundation
  • Reduced pedestrian crossing distance at the bridge and 29th Street
  • Wider concrete sidewalks along both sides of the bridge
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant pedestrian ramps at the bridge approaches

Other improvements in the area include:

  • New pavement and lighting underneath the bridge for Midtown Greenway users
  • Adaptable design to accommodate possible future upgrades in the Midtown Corridor
  • Updated underground city watermain

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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