Plymouth Avenue Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic

The Plymouth Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River, which closed to traffic after the discovery of corroded cables in its structure, reopened today to pedestrian traffic. However, it will remain closed to motor vehicle traffic until necessary repairs can be made.

During routine maintenance and repair work in October 2010, the bridge was found to have significant deterioration in its post-tensioning tendons. While the bridge’s design is not fracture-critical, a thorough analysis led Public Works to conclude that the bridge will not be reopened to motor vehicle traffic until repairs can be completed. However, the analysis indicated it is safe to allow foot traffic on the bridge, so Department of Public Works has reopened the bridge to pedestrians.

Starting Jan. 6, the sidewalk on the downstream side of the bridge is open to pedestrian traffic. Because of the limited space on the sidewalk, cyclists should walk their bikes across the bridge.

The Plymouth Avenue Bridge, which opened in 1982, connects north and northeast Minneapolis. Before its closure, it carried more than 14,000 vehicles a day. That traffic has since moved to other river crossings, including the Broadway Avenue Bridge six blocks north of Plymouth Avenue or the Hennepin Avenue Bridge in downtown Minneapolis.

City engineers are now evaluating design solutions to make the necessary repairs so the Plymouth Avenue Bridge can reopen to motor vehicles. The City is also working to identify possible funding sources for the repair work, and has made the Plymouth Avenue Bridge its top funding priority at the state legislature this year. While the project costs are not yet known, it’s estimated that the repair will cost between $7 million and $10 million.

Published Jan. 6, 2011