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

Temporary reroute of Midtown Greenway for pier construction

On Monday, May 18, crews began work on the new pier for the Fremont Avenue Bridge.

The new decorative pier will be similar in style to other historic bridges over the Greenway. The bridge design makes the pier adaptable to accommodate possible future transit uses in the corridor.

Due to the pier's location on the Greenway, we need to close the trail to safely build it. Instead of using multiple closures, we now anticipate that we can construct the pier, backfill and pave the permanent trail during a single closure.

How to get around the closure

We anticipate the pier and trail work to take up to four weeks to complete.

During the closure, Greenway users should use the marked reroute to get around the closure.

  • Girard Avenue
  • 28th Street
  • Bryant Avenue

Reroute during the Midtown Greenway closure at Fremont Avenue

Signs will be on the Greenway to notify users of the upcoming reroute.

This is the same detour route as the one we provided last year. Like then, 28th Street will be striped to accommodate both directions of bike traffic. Additionally, we will adjust traffic signal timing along the route to minimize delays and add signage to help with wayfinding.

Construction updates

Abutment construction near substantial completion

Last year, crews completed construction of the north abutment and began foundation work on the south abutment. These structures located at each end of the span support the weight of the bridge and any traffic that passes over it.

Since work resumed in April, crews completed the foundation for the south abutment and began work on the new abutment walls. Crews expect to pour the south abutment next week. Once poured and cured for two to three weeks, the abutment will be substantially complete. Then crews will finish work on the abutment and start work on the deck.

Project information

What to expect in 2020

Last year, crews removed the existing bridge and were able to install the shoring system for deep excavations and replace the city’s underground watermain. Crews also made significant progress constructing the bridge abutments. This was some of the more intensive work for the project. 

This year, crews are constructing the new bridge including: 

  • New piers and foundation 
  • New deck with wider sidewalks along both sides of the bridge 
  • ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps at the bridge approaches

Expect impacts 

There will be closures in the immediate area around the bridge and on the Midtown Greenway in order for crews to efficiently and safely complete the remaining bridge work. 

Temporary closures and reroute of the Midtown Greenway

We anticipate to close the Greenway to construct the bridge pier and pave the permanent trail.

There will also be intermittent closures when crews are installing the new bridge beams and constructing the new bridge deck. We will send updates and post information along the routes prior to the closures. 

Closures on 29th Street and Fremont Avenue 

Two nearby roads will continue to be impacted during construction: 29th Street between Fremont and Emerson avenues will be closed; and Fremont Avenue immediately north and south of the bridge will close intermittently. 

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

Crossing the Greenway 

People will continue to have access to Girard and Emerson avenues for crossing over the Greenway. 

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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