Road to U gets detour

Vadim Lavrusik

There are two seasons in Minnesota – winter and construction season.

As construction season begins, people commuting to the University through the East River Parkway will be sent on a detour.

Starting May 15, the road will be closed between Franklin and Yale avenues for construction of the East River Parkway Bridge over Bridal Veil Falls.

Stephanie Malmberg, the project engineer, said the city is aiming for May 15 but the date might be pushed back. She said, once closed, the bridge will remain closed until October.

Malmberg said people should expect to see the construction crews doing some preliminary work prior to the scheduled date. However, during this preliminary work the road will remain open to traffic, she said.

She said the bridge is in “pretty rough shape” and the sidewalks are in constant need of repair. The decision to rebuild the bridge, she said, came after years of discussion from area neighborhoods of what to do with the bridge.

With the reconstruction of the old bridge, Bridal Veil Falls will be retained and the view of the falls will increase as well, she said. The result of the reconstruction also will include a 10-foot bike path on the river side of the road and wider pedestrian space on the sidewalk.

Joe Dressel, advertising and animation senior at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, said he will have to wake up a little earlier when he returns to school.

Dressel travels over East River Parkway on his way to school and said he will have to find a back road to avoid the construction.

He said he was surprised to hear about the construction – especially that it will last until October – because he never saw anything on the road that needed immediate attention.

Dressel said he plans to avoid the detour because “detours are always too busy.”

Mary Sienco, marketing manager of Parking and Transportation Services, said she commutes through East River Parkway and the road is a popular route for commuters who are coming from south or southeast Minneapolis.

She recommended people leave their residence earlier because, depending on where the destination is, the detour probably will add five to 10 minutes to the commute.

Sienco said the city is working on other projects on and around campus this summer.

The city will continue to finish the reconstruction on Como Avenue Southeast, she said. People in the area are fairly used to the construction, she said, because different sections of the road have been closed since last summer.

Starting June 1, another section of East River Parkway will be closed between Arlington Street and Norris Hall, she said. The road is scheduled to remain closed until Aug. 29.

More information and updates on the construction projects can be found at the city Web site at www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us.