Camden Bridge closes Monday for major repairs

The Camden Bridge connecting North and Northeast Minneapolis will close to traffic early Monday morning so crews can perform six months of extensive rehabilitation work. When the bridge reopens this fall, drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians will all see major improvements. The bridge construction is made possible because the City of Minneapolis applied for and received $10 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for the project.

The rehabilitation work includes replacing the bridge deck, giving it a new driving surface, new sidewalks and railings, and attractive new lighting. Underneath, important work to the bridge structure will ensure the bridge is in good shape to continue carrying traffic for decades to come. That includes replacement of expansion joints and a new storm water drainage system. The bridge will also be repainted in 2011, although the bridge will remain open during this work.

To minimize the amount of time people in the nearby neighborhoods will be affected by the closure, and to reduce the time traffic will be affected, the bridge will be completely closed during the work. A complete closure will allow crews to finish most of the bridge work in six months, as opposed to the two years it would take if the bridge were intermittently opened and closed during work.

For weeks City has been reaching out to drivers who use the bridge to alert them to this closure.  Last month, around 12,000 letters were sent to nearby residents. Notifications were posted in park centers, in libraries and at some local businesses. Traffic signs about the closure have been up near the bridge for about a month.

Drivers are asked to follow the posted detours and message signs during construction. The official detour route for traffic across the river will be the Plymouth Avenue Bridge to the south. Although the Broadway Bridge is also in the area, the Plymouth Avenue Bridge has the capacity to handle more vehicles than the Broadway Bridge, and is just a few blocks farther to the south. The detour for bicyclists is to the north, using the Interstate 694 Bridge.  

Built in 1975, the Camden Bridge is a crossing over the Mississippi River and Interstate 94, connecting 42nd Avenue North on the west and 37th Avenue Northeast on the east. The bridge has deteriorated to the point that it is need of repairs to maintain public safety. The current bridge has "fracture critical" pin and hanger connections which will be replaced. The traffic rails have deteriorated and also require replacement.

Planning for this rehab project began in 2004 but has been on hold because funding was not available. By using Recovery funding to complete the bridge work now, the bridge can be improved before it deteriorates further, which would necessitate a new bridge to be built at a cost well over $100 million. The completed project will also save Minneapolis maintenance costs into the future. Currently, city crews spend approximately a month on deck patching and painting the bridge each year.

The City's application for federal Recovery dollars for the Camden Bridge is part of the Minneapolis Economic Recovery Strategy. City leaders developed the strategy to seek federal funding that preserves and creates jobs and makes public investments that translate into a more competitive future for the people of Minneapolis and this entire region. For more information on the Minneapolis Economic Recovery Strategy, visit www.minneapolisrecovery.us.

Published Apr. 9, 2010