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MnDOT Could Close Historic Stone Bridge

Thursday, May 17, 2018

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Minneapolis’ historic James J. Hill Stone Arch Bridge may be closed in the coming weeks due to lack of funding for inspections, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Currently, $1 million is needed for inspection; up to $13 million may be needed for repairs.

The request for the $13 million in funding was included in Gov. Mark Dayton's bonding bill proposal, but was not factored into the House or Senate's proposals. As a result, MnDOT is unlikely to the see the funding this season.

Stone Arch Bridge Repairs

MnDOT Planning and Hydraulics Engineer Amber Blanchard told local news station KSTP that the department wouldn’t necessarily need the full $13 million to keep the bridge open, but $1 million is needed for regular inspections. Without the money, the bridge can’t be evaluated, and that means shutting it down as a precautionary measure.

Jim Cadwell, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Minneapolis’ historic James J. Hill Stone Arch Bridge may be closed in the coming weeks due to lack of funding for inspections, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Currently, $1 million is needed for inspection; up to $13 million may be needed for repairs.

The $1 million would not address the underlying issue of mortar deterioration above and below the water line, however.  

"As a bridge professional, I don't see any reason that it would, you know, a chunk would fall into the Mississippi tomorrow,” said Blanchard. “It's in good condition. It's a stout bridge. But like I said, we just won't have the resources available to keep monitoring it, and if that's the case, we want to err on the side of safety.”

In terms of funding, House Republicans proposed the idea of using money from a Minnesota State Lottery trust fund to cover the repairs. The spokesperson who provided this information to KTSP also noted that the money could still be added to the proposal. A decision will need to be made within the next week.

Currently, there is no specific time set for shutting down the bridge.

According to KMSP, the James J. Hill Stone Arch Bridge was built between 1881 and 1883, carrying the Minneapolis Union Railroad over the Mississippi River. It currently serves as a pedestrian trail, and is designated a National Historic Engineering Landmark.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Historic Preservation; Historic Structures; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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