10th Avenue Bridge gets in line for repairs

Matt Herbert

 

Built more than 80 years ago, the 10th Avenue Bridge is in need of some repairs.

Sen. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, is seeking $7.6 million in bonding money to mend the bridge, which hasn’t seen major renovations since the 1970s.

 “The 10th Avenue Bridge is one of several bridges that’s due for repairs,” Dziedzic said. “It’s on the city’s priority list and they feel if they do maintenance now, it’s like preventative medicine so it will help maintain the bridge for several more years.”

City of Minneapolis spokesman Casper Hill said the bridge does not pose any safety risks to the public. The city owns and inspects the bridge.

“Rehabilitating the bridge now would be more cost effective than delaying the work,” Hill said.

Hill said rehabilitation will save the city as much as $40,000 a year in maintenance costs, but replacing it would cost between $65 and $110 million.

Tom Styrbicki, a bridge engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said the 10th Avenue Bridge is not in bad condition and does not need immediate attention but could use some general repairs and maintenance.

Strybicki said some of the outer layers of concrete are deteriorated and exposed but said the inner concrete layers are secure and safe.

In a recent MnDOT Structure Inventory Report, the 10th Avenue Bridge was given a “satisfactory” rating for deck conditions and fair ratings for its beams and support structures.

Dziedzic said she works closely with the city and MnDOT on bridge repair and monitoring.

Several bridges in Dziedzic’s Senate district are being repaired or are under consideration, including the light-rail construction on the Washington Avenue Bridge.

Although constituents haven’t complained specifically to Dziedzic about the bridge during her first month in office, many in nearby neighborhoods have voiced concerns over recent closures like the new Lowry Avenue Bridge, which is currently under construction.

Dziedzic requested a hearing for the bridge-specific bonding bill in the Capital Investment Committee in January, but she doesn’t know when or if that hearing will take place. Besides the $7.6 million request, the city already has a municipal state aid of $2.2 million and will match $1.2 million in city bonds for repairs.

Hill said the city follows federal guidelines to ensure safety for public use.

Rep. Phyllis Kahn, who introduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives, said bridges have been better inspected after the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, but she said the 10th Avenue Bridge needs repairs and upgrades.

Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, said she feels uncomfortable when jogging in the area.

“It’s spooky running under the bridge,” Kahn said. “When looking from below, there are lots of concrete chunks missing.”

Dziedzic said repairing the bridge now would be more cost effective.

“We need to preserve and maintain what we have because it’s sometimes cheaper to fix and maintain it rather than building a whole new structure,” Dziedzic said.