Maintenance work on the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge started Monday and will continue throughout the month. Travelers moving between Park Point and Duluth can at least be thankful that it's the year's shortest month.
The city's announcement about the project explains the wire ropes that raise and lower the 1905-era bridge are due for replacement, which means delays for motorists who use the bridge.
Traffic is reduced to a single lane, with signals on either end of the bridge alternating the Duluth-bound and Point-bound vehicles. But periodically, the city says, traffic in both directions will stop for up to 15 minutes at a time while the contractor – Lakehead Constructors – moves materials over the road or loads them in or out of the work area.
Park Point, also known as Minnesota Point, is a sand bar that's five miles long.
Its residents include Alice Jacobson, who told KBJR last week the maintenance work means she'll have to plan around the delays and leave earlier for work, "...but I think just living on the point you get used to the bridge throwing a wrench in your day," she adds.
The website GoDuluthMN.com says the lift bridge is one of the most photographed landmarks in Minnesota.
They say the bridge typically gets a new set of 12 cables every 18 years.
February is the time to do it, since the lack of ship traffic means there's no need to raise or lower the bridge. The last vessel of the season, the Paul R. Tregurtha, passed under the bridge and into the port of couple of weeks ago, Duluth Shipping News reported.