Camden Bridge opens to traffic Saturday, Aug. 21 afternoon

The Camden Bridge, closed since April 12 for extensive rehabilitation work, is now slated to open to traffic Saturday, Aug. 21 afternoon, re-connecting traffic routes between North and Northeast Minneapolis. The bridge work, made possible through $10 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, included improvements that drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians will all enjoy.

The Camden Bridge spans both the Mississippi River and Interstate 94, connecting 42nd Avenue North on the west and 37th Avenue Northeast on the east. Opening to traffic in 1975, the bridge had deteriorated over the years to the point where repairs were needed every year to maintain public safety.

Planning for these rehabilitations began in 2004, but had been on hold because funding was not available. By using Recovery funding to complete the bridge work now, the City was able to make these improvements before the bridge deteriorated further. Had the deterioration become more extensive, a new bridge would be needed at a cost well over $100 million.

One of the major components of the rehabilitation work involved replacing the bridge deck, giving it a new driving surface, new sidewalks and railings, and attractive new lighting. Beneath that deck, "fracture critical" pin and hanger connections were replaced. Other improvements include the replacement of traffic rails that had decayed over the past decades, replacement of expansion joints and the creation of a new storm water drainage system.

Public Works opted to completely close the Camden Bridge to traffic instead of a partial closure. A complete closure of the bridge allowed for a shorter construction period. As a result, this renovation work took less than five months, as opposed to the two years that would’ve been needed if the bridge were intermittently opened and closed during work.

The rehabilitation work on Camden Bridge is not totally complete. Next year, it will undergo a full repainting. However, the bridge will remain open to traffic during that work.

Published Aug 20, 2010