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28th Ave. will be closed for bridge replacement next year

Posted on 28 May 2018 by calvin

Photo above: This image from 1904 shows the 28th Ave. bridge over Minnehaha Creek shortly after it was built. Vehicles and pedestrians shared the roadway. (Photo submitted)

The project includes moving the multi-use trail underneath the busy roadway

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
When the bridge over Minnehaha Creek is replaced next year, 28th Ave. will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians for about six months.

Once the work is complete, pedestrians and bikers will cross underneath the busy roadway.

Construction is expected to begin in April 2019 and be finished in November 2019.

Photo right: Resident Michael McMurghie (left) and dog Huckleberry chat with City Bridge Engineer Jack Yuzna on Wed., May 9 during an open house on the proposed project. McMurghie expressed safety concerns about the current trail crossing the busy roadway. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Right now, users of the multi-use Regional Park trail cross 28th at a skewed alignment at a crosswalk. This intersection was highlighted in the Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Master Plan, and a trail crossing below the bridge ranked as the second most important priority for the entire park.

“It’s dangerous for people going over all the time,” stated resident Michael McMurghie on May 9 during an open house on the proposed project.

As he’s collected comments on this project, City Bridge Engineer Jack Yuzna has repeatedly heard from people that they want the trail to cross 28th under the bridge.

Data on accidents at the trail crossing show they’ve primarily been vehicles rear-ending each other, or sideswiping another while passing. A few vehicles have run off the road.

Bridge built in 1904
In addition to providing a grade-separated trail crossing under 28th Ave. S. for non-motorized users, the purpose of this project is to provide a structurally-sound crossing over Minnehaha Creek for motorized and non-motorized users.

This trail is a component of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway that has been nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, and so the bridge needs to complement the historical setting as well as the natural setting.

The original bridge was constructed in 1904. The arch has a clear span of 25 feet and rise of 7 feet. Vehicles and pedestrians shared the roadway. In the 1920s, the iron railing from the Franklin bridge was installed on the 28th bridge, and sidewalks were added by cantilevering 3.5 feet beyond the bridge’s spandrel walls.

The existing structure has narrow sidewalks of 4.5 ft wide. In the new design, there will be at least 10 feet on each side to make it more comfortable for pedestrians and easier to remove snow.

The clearance needs to be at least 9.5 ft to place the trail under the bridge. A separated trail for bikes and pedestrians is planned.

Community input
Planners are asking for community input on the design of the project. “It’s a community amenity,” acknowledged Yunza.

Photo left: This renderings shows one of the design options for the new bridge and trail crossing along Minnehaha Creek at 28th Ave. (Illustrations submitted)

To accommodate a trail under the bridge, the new design can’t be an arch like it is now, explained Yunza. Doing that would require more space from the yard next door. However, design elements can be incorporated that could make the square shape look more like an arch.

Planners are also seeking input on the type of railing that will be used. Current safety regulations require a concrete railing for crash protection, but that could be topped by a steel one to look like it does now.

Photo left: This renderings shows another of the design options for the new bridge and trail crossing along Minnehaha Creek at 28th Ave. (Illustrations submitted)

Originally slated for 2017, the project was delayed because of the time it took to obtain a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The city applied for the permit in 2015.

While the exact detour route has not yet been determined, planners are coordinating it with the 34th Ave. reconstruction project as well as Metro Transit.

After the Messenger went to press, a public meeting was held May 30 on the project.

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