Viaduct bridge coming down in 2001

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 7, 1999


Wednesday, July 07, 1999

With plans underway for construction on two East Main Street bridges in 2000, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced plans for changes to two other bridges the following year.

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The two railroad bridges on Main Street west of Broadway Avenue will be targeted in 2001. The Union Pacific bridge, commonly referred to as the viaduct bridge, will be replaced, while the second bridge will simply have lanes added.

The motivation for the $3.5 million project is the condition of the 34-year-old trestle bridge.

&uot;It was originally designed for 50 years and now it’s been 65,&uot; said Steven Kirsch, the project’s engineer.

While looking at replacing the bridge, Kirsch said MnDOT planners realized a change in size was warranted.

&uot;The amount of traffic you have there warrants a four lane bridge,&uot; he said.

With plans to expand the bridge to four lanes, he said it only made sense to also widen the rest of Highway 13, including the second bridge.

The smaller bridge, built in 1986, is already wide enough to accommodate four lanes and a five-foot shoulder on each side. The change, however, will cause the elimination of the bridge’s southern sidewalk.

While one of the two sidewalks on the smaller bridge will be removed, Kirsch noted plans call for the northern sidewalk for both bridges to be connected along the construction, which ends with the second bridge.

The engineer said a southern sidewalk on the project would only be considered if city officials produced a reason for it, such as a new bike plan for city streets.

&uot;Then, the city would have to be a cost participant,&uot; he added.

The city could also participate in a plan to extend the sidewalk past the bridge, further west. That’s not currently planned.

What is planned is to begin construction mid-March in 2001. Kirsch said the project will begin with the demolition of the existing bridge.

After demolition, road crews will begin working on Main Street from Euclid Avenue to the smaller bridge.

Kirsch said the current trestle bridge will be replaced with one similar to the railroad bridge to the west.

While the bridge is in the current plan, the engineer said early discussions included doing away with it altogether. MnDOT tried to work with the Union Pacific Railroad to run Main Street across where the tracks now lie.

Kirsch noted the current tracks are seldom used and MnDOT proposed a plan to reroute the trains that follow the current route from the north. The cost, however, was too high and building a new bridge became the only option.

Since the bridge and street leading up to it will be widened, construction plans are also being made for the two side streets on each side of Highway 13 going west from Euclid.

The side streets will be narrowed and parking could be eliminated. Additionally, the grassy boulevards will be removed.

Kirsch said most of the land needed for the bridge project is currently owned by the state or is part of a city or state right-of-way.

The only area currently owned by someone else is part of the northwest corner of Main Street and First Avenue. The corner will be trimmed slightly when adding the extra lanes.

Construction is currently expected to take seven months.