Lighting the way

The Lowry Avenue Bridge celebrates and connects communities

The Lowry Avenue Bridge celebrates and connects communities

Steel and concrete sweep across the Mississippi River in the form of the elegant Lowry Avenue Bridge, which can also glow with color from an LED light display.

The redesigned bridge, which opened in 2012, connects North to Northeast Minneapolis and is often awash with color from sundown to sunrise. Red, white and blue bedeck the structure for the Fourth of July, and orange and black bounce off the bridge for Halloween.

Special lighting

The bridge normally displays blue lights, but is lit in other colors for holidays and special occasions. Although the lights can’t be used for personal events like birthdays, organizations can request special lighting for community events or public commemoration through the county’s website.

If approved by the county administrator, the bridge will glow with the requested colors from before sundown to after sunrise the next morning.

The bridge can also be lit on short notice, like following Prince’s death when the lights turned purple. A photo of the bridge was posted on Hennepin County’s social media accounts, and was shared more than 2,500 times on Facebook and retweeted more than 850 times. The photo was also featured in a Washington Post article about tributes to Prince.

Award-winning design

The tied-arch truss bridge comprises two basket handle arches and unique substructure geometry. Though the design looks light and airy, the bridge has substantial weight – according to Lunda Construction, the company that built the bridge, the concrete tie girders alone weigh a million pounds.

The bridge has won multiple awards for design, including the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers’ Seven Wonders of Engineering Award in 2013 and the Federal Highway Administration’s Environmental Excellence Award in Wetlands, Watersheds & Water Quality.