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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 reconstruction included 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 was completed in 2020.

Project completion timeline
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Reconstruction project is complete

The Fremont Avenue Bridge reconstruction project has come to an end.

We replaced the century-old bridge with a new, safer bridge that meets today’s travel needs.

The new bridge is designed to honor the historical character of the Greenway and yet be adaptable to accommodate possible future transit in the corridor.

View of the Fremont Avenue Bridge

View of the reconstructed bridge

Area improvements

Construction crews were on-site since last year, busily removing the existing bridge, constructing retaining walls and making deep excavations to update city utilities and for supporting bridge structures.

In 2020, the main focus was completing the deck, finalizing work underneath the bridge and getting everything back in place for Midtown Greenway trail users.

For those who travel in this area, the results of our work should mean a better experience all around. The improved experiences include wider sidewalks, accessible curb ramps that meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards and shortened pedestrian crossings, as well as new pavement and lighting on the Greenway.

The new bridge should last for many decades.

New deck on the Fremont Avenue Bridge

New bridge deck with wider sidewalks.

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

New ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps and reduced crossing distance.

View of the repaved Greenway Trail at Fremont Avenue

Repaved Greenway trail at Fremont Avenue.

Thank you

We thank you for your patience and understanding while we worked to complete this project in Minneapolis.

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)

Portland and Cedar avenues bridges

In June 2018, reconstruction of the Portland and Cedar avenue bridges over the Midtown Greenway was completed.

Both of the century-old bridges were reconstructed to improve design, function and safety, while also maintaining their original architectural styles to maintain the historic integrity of the corridor. Design features were also included to accommodate possible future transit service in the corridor.

Portland Avenue improvements

  • Widened sidewalk on bridge deck from eight to ten feet
  • Changed traffic lanes from three ten-foot through lanes to two 13-foot through lanes
  • Added a three-foot buffer to the existing six-foot bike lane
  • Added lights underneath the bridge for greenway trail users

Cedar Avenue improvements

  • Widened sidewalk on bridge deck from eight to ten feet
  • Changed traffic lanes from four ten-foot through lanes to two 11-foot through lanes and two 13-foot through lanes
  • Added lights underneath the bridge for greenway trail users

Greenway trail improvements

  • New lights underneath both bridges to improve visibility at night
  • Repaved trail segments underneath both bridges
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