Reopened 10th Avenue bridge to accommodate U traffic

The bridge now has two bicycle lanes and an area for viewing the collapse site.

The 10th Avenue bridge over the Mississippi River reopened Friday, after being closed since the Interstate 35W bridge collapse Aug. 1.

The City of Minneapolis initially closed the 10th Avenue bridge to the public because its proximity to the collapse site and use in search and rescue efforts.

Matt Laible, a spokesman for the City of Minneapolis, said the bridge had been closed to protect the dignity of the victims and their families, to serve as a staging area for rescue efforts and to secure large lights for nighttime work at the collapse site.

The bridge has a new layout to accommodate transit in the area. It now has mixed-use traffic in each direction, two bicycle lanes, a pedestrian lane and another pedestrian area facing the collapse site, which will be for viewing purposes.

The changes cost up to $120,000, according to a City of Minneapolis news release, and it is not yet known how much of that will be eligible for state and federal reimbursement.

Laible also said the modifications to the bridge were partially a response to community concerns about traffic in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The pedestrian viewing area was created because of large amounts of people who will be trying to view the collapse site from the 10th Avenue bridge, whether there is a designated area or not, he said. The viewing area provides a safe way for them to do so, he said.

Though the bridge will accommodate fewer vehicles than before, its reopening will likely be a relief to University students who need to cross the Mississippi River to navigate between the East and West Banks.

University graduate student Zach Thompson said alternate routes are an inconvenience.

“The 10th Avenue bridge closing pushed everything to either the Central or Hennepin bridges, or having to go to campus to take the Washington Avenue bridge. Ö It’s an annoyance,” he said.

The 10th Avenue bridge is not built to accommodate the same kind of traffic that went over the Interstate 35W bridge.

To ease congestion in the area, motorists should continue using alternative routes when passing through the city, according to city officials. Freeway drivers should continue using the official Highway 280 detour route.

Many are expected to use the pedestrian area facing the collapse site to pay their respects to the victims and rescuers of the disaster.

For those looking to visit this area, walking and biking are encouraged. The closest parking ramp is the Seven Corners ramp on the West Bank.

Now, a temporary fence atop a concrete barrier located on the 10th Avenue bridge’s north side separates spectators and the collapse site.

However, just before the reopening of the bridge, Minneapolis Police Sergeant Marve Schumer said, “We’ll still be out there, providing some kind of security.”