Ever since the new I35W bridge opened – and in light of the budgetary issues facing both Minnesota and the US – it seems as though attention to the crumbling state of many bridges has quieted down.
However, this week Minneapolis lost a crossing of the Mississippi River for the very reason of hazard and corrosion. The Plymouth Avenue Bridge was closed October 22 as a ‘safety precaution’ after discovery of corroded bridge tendons. On October 28, the city announced the bridge would remain closed for the winter.
As bridges go, this one isn’t even one of the older bridges in town to be showing such damage – it was built in 1983.
Officials say that they will evaluate leaving the bridge open for cyclists and pedestrians, as their overall weight doesn’t provoke the strain that 10,000 vehicles a day do. Those vehicles are mostly expected to move north to the Broadway Avenue bridge, or south to the Hennepin Avenue bridge. Traffic lights near both are being adjusted to help with traffic flow.
It’s difficult to say, with this bridge closure, if the bridge will be plowed through the winter if the bridge is kept open for cyclists and pedestrians. Presumably, plowing it would become a very low priority in light of the closure (as well as budget issues). It’s safe to suggest that cyclists are going to end up detouring too through the winter, even if the bridge is ‘kept open’ for them.