Beginning next week, the 3rd Avenue bridge in Minneapolis will close for nearly two years.
The century-old landmark structure, located just north of St. Anthony Falls, is next on the Minnesota Department of Transportation's list for restoration — its first major overhaul in decades. The $130 million project is scheduled for completion by November 2022.
Beginning Jan. 4, motorists and pedestrians will be detoured through Hennepin and 1st Avenues N. Bicyclists are directed to use the Stone Arch Bridge.
Earlier this year, MNDOT project manager Chris Hoberg told the Star Tribune that the project will leave the bridge looking closer to how it originally looked when it first opened in 1918.
“We want to put back what was there before,” he told the newspaper. “We want to honor its history.”
MNDOT will repair each of the arches, replace columns and restore the ornamental railing and lighting. It will also rearrange the space to allow for 13-feet-wide paths on both sides of the bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The 3rd Avenue bridge is one of 200 historic bridges across Minnesota, and is one of 24 selected by MNDOT for long-term preservation, Hoberg told the Star Tribune. The project should extend its life by at least 50 years.
According to MNDOT, the bridge holds historical significance as one of the first reinforced-concrete bridges in the Twin Cities, and played a key role in connecting the emerging Northeast Minneapolis area with the city's downtown.
"This bridge will answer the ever-recurring demand for more convenient communication between the two banks of the river. It was the lack of such communication that so long kept St. Anthony the town, and Minneapolis but a field of undeveloped opportunities," a 1915 Star Tribune article reads.