After some digging, I find out: Yes, they did just spend a lot of money fixing up the bridge, and yes, some people are thinking about replacing it anyway.
Here's an older story from Camden News:
The Lowry Avenue Bridge will have re-opened by the time most people read this article if all goes as planned. Bernie Jahn, from Hennepin County’s Transportation Development Design Department was at the site mid-March and he commented on the progress. The bearings to stabilize the shifting were in the process of being installed, with the installation expected to take one week. “After the installation, monitoring and clean-up tasks are needed…[and] the bridge will be open by the end of March.”
Much of the delay was placed on funding issues as well as the custom fabrication of the bearings. Jahn dismissed comments that the structural solution developed would not be sufficient. The consulting company Wiss, Janney and Elstner of Chicago, has been involved in many other bridge projects, including the Ford Parkway Bridge Structural Investigation and Rehabilitation. Once repaired, the bridge is expected to serve as a crossing for many years to come. Jahn added that the lengthy closure has brought discussions about replacing the Lowry Avenue Bridge to the forefront. He admits that he isn’t involved with the replacement issue, which could be at least 10 years away, but the first step is finding the funding.
I love the bridge as is, and I think it would be a travesty if they built another one. In fact, I think it's a travesty to even talk about it. It's not often that a bridge has character, but when it does, you need to keep it. That's happening in Stillwater right now. In fact, the bridges are quite similar!
Attention businesspeople: it's impossible to put a dollar value on the sound it makes when your car goes over the little metal ridges of the Lowry Bridge
This from Hennepin County:
The county Transportation Department discovered structural problems at the large pier on the east side of the navigation channel last fall while the bridge was closed to traffic for a repainting project. At that location, movement had occurred between the bridge trusses and the pier that supports the trusses.
The bridge remained closed while Transportation Department engineers and a bridge consultant determined the extent of the problems and what repairs were needed. The recommendation was made to replace the bearing assemblies on Pier 3, and a contractor has now completed those repairs. The Transportation Department will continue to monitor the bridge.
The repainting project in 2003-2004 consisted of painting the structural steel of the bridge and installing new lights. Work also included minor repairs on the concrete abutments and piers and to the bridge superstructure.
Plus Again: Bill Gates Agrees Lowry Bridge is a "Landmark"
As you can see here, the good folks at Microsoft (Flight Simulator division) deemed the Lowry Bridge to be worth of landmark status.
Replaced Missing Landmark Bridges -
In Flight Simulator 9.0 we replaced many old bridge models with new bridge models. During this process many bridges that were in previous versions of Flight Simulator were inadvertently omitted and the new bridge model was never placed. We replaced approximately 160 missing bridge models that were omitted from Flight Simulator 9.0.