3.9.08

Like A Troubled Bridge over Water

Here at Twin City Sidewalks, I promise to bring you all the latest in Minnesota faulty bridge news, as it happens.

For example, here is the latest on the faulty Washington Avenue Bridge connecting the two campuses of the University of Minnesota. Tonight's email from Kathleen O'Sullivan:

This is to update you on the latest developments regarding the Washington Avenue Pedestrian Bridge.

Based on the recommendations of engineering consultants,
Hennepin County officials have closed the outside
portions of the Washington Avenue Pedestrian Bridge.
While other scenarios were considered as fencing was
constructed, county officials decided that use of the
pedestrian level must be limited until the deck is
strengthened. As of this afternoon, all pedestrians
and bicyclists must use the middle area inside the
covered enclosure.

To keep everyone safe, bicyclists should dismount and
walk their bikes across the bridge. The solution is
certainly not ideal and the congestion on the bridge
will be significant. Please continue to be considerate
and cooperative to other members of the University
community.

I understand the University community's concern over
the bridge closure and the frustration with the changing
plans. I have stressed to Hennepin County officials the
vital role the bridge plays in the daily life of the
University and will continue to work closely with County
officials to protect the safety of our community and ensure
adequate pedestrian and bicycle movement across the
Mississippi River. Hennepin County is working to fast
track the project and work is expected to be completed
in the spring. We will continue to provide updates
throughout the project.


Looks like we're going to have to let the bridges fall where they may, and U students will be walking their bikes across the Mississippi River this year. That'll be quite the pain in the ass.

Personally, I'm going to miss looking down from the Washington Avenue Bridge's pedestrian path onto the twisted, fallen steel remnants of the I-35W bridge, still sitting on the banks of Bohemian Flats.

I guess it beats the alternative, though...


[The thought of the Washington Avenue Bridge collapsing onto the twisted remains of the 35W Bridge makes my head spin. -- Img. fm. Jeremy Boyder.]

2 comments:

momo said...

You know, I have been looking at those twisted remains still spread out on the river bank, but I have not yet, in the entire year since it fell, looked at where the bridge used to be, even as the new one rises. At first it was out of horror, and then, I don't know why, I just didn't want to. I've caught glimpses of it as I drive across the 10th Ave bridge, or from the Guthrie balcony, but I have not wanted to look.

Folk can go the long way and ride across on the 10th st bridge, but has anyone inspected it lately?

Pyrodogg said...

What I have yet to understand is what difference it makes whether or not people are in the covered section or not. How much weight difference can a couple hundred students have on the bridge. And if it is significant is cordoning them to the center really any safer? If the bridge were to still go down (or at least the pedestrian level) would being on the inside really make you any safer than being on the outside?

I want more specifics on what is happening with the damned bridge other than hearing it's "for my safety"