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 reroute to remain in place until late December

Crews are working hard to expedite this year's remaining Fremont Avenue Bridge replacement activities and are adjusting schedules to reopen the Midtown Greenway trail underneath as soon as possible. 

Because the work near the Greenway is taking longer than anticipated, we need to delay the reopening of the trail until late December.

We are completing critical underground work now with the goal of avoiding additional long-term trail closures of the Greenway in spring and summer 2020 when use of the trail is at its highest.

Maintaining the reroute

Greenway users should continue to use the signed reroute. We are coordinating with project partners to provide winter maintenance along the reroute until we reopen the Greenway at Fremont Avenue. 

Crews make additional adjustments to ensure shoring supports deep excavation

Crews have been building a temporary shoring system needed to support deep excavation activities. Unfortunately due to the complex work site, it took additional time to design and install the shoring system.

Shoring is a critical safety measure. It provides stability at the excavated work site and ensures a safe space for our crews to work in. These excavations are required to complete critical underground work, including installing the city watermain and constructing the new bridge foundation.

Last week, crews hit an important milestone. They completed all required shoring work and piling on the north end of the bridge.

Excavations and underground activities continue next week

Starting next week, crews will continue to work on:

  • Finishing required piling work on the south end of the bridge
  • Completing deep excavations to start underground activities
  • Installing the city watermain
  • Constructing the new bridge foundation
  • Backfilling the excavated area

These activities are anticipated to take until December to complete. When complete, crews will construct and reopen the trail.

Photo of construction area showing the bridge shoring system and piling

The photo above shows the temporary shoring system on the Greenway at Fremont Avenue. Shoring allows crews to safely make deep excavations to install the city watermain and construct the new bridge foundation.

Staying informed

As construction activities progress, we will keep you informed and provide schedule updates on the trail reopening.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to complete underground activities.

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 will be on-site starting 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.

Midtown Greenway closed at Fremont; use temporary reroute

The Midtown Greenway at Fremont is closed. A short reroute of the Greenway is available to get around the construction activities.

The temporary reroute uses:

  • Girard Avenue
  • 28th Street
  • Bryant Avenue

Midtown Greenway reroute map using Girard Avenue, 28th Street and Bryant Avenue

Temporary reroute map for Midtown Greenway users

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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