Mudslide closes East River Parkway, halts light rail service near UMN

The mudslide occurred after heavy rains on Tuesday.

A light rail Green Line train crosses University Avenue in Minneapolis on Monday night. According to Metro Transit, there has been about $3 billion in development along the Green Line corridor since construction began in 2010.

James Healy

A light rail Green Line train crosses University Avenue in Minneapolis on Monday night. According to Metro Transit, there has been about $3 billion in development along the Green Line corridor since construction began in 2010.

Imani Cruzen

Following heavy rains, a mudslide near the University of Minnesota campus has caused delays and closures.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board was alerted to the mudslide along the Mississippi River bank near East River Parkway at 9:30 a.m., according to a post on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board website. The mudslide occurred between Washington Avenue and Arlington Street.

In response, East River Parkway was closed for the weekend between Delaware Street Southeast and Arlington Street. City and county staff, along with University police, responded to the scene. 

“We responded just to evaluate what was the extent of it, what happened and try to determine if there were any safety issues that we have,” said Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Director of Design and Project Management Cliff Swenson. “So as a precaution, we immediately closed the trail that’s right along the top of the bluff.”

The Minneapolis Public Works Department is looking at potential detour routes for the parkway during the investigation. Board staff will also supervise hired consultants as they develop a plan for moving forward.

“What we’re trying to do right now is just close the parkway and the trail until we can finish a technical engineering evaluation of the soil underneath that parkway to make sure that we’re not prone to more failure,” Swenson said.

Heavy rainfall is presumed to be the cause of the mudslide, and no injuries or damage in the surrounding area have been reported, according to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board post. More rain expected in the upcoming days is one reason the board erred on the side of caution while assessments are completed, said Dawn Sommers, communications and marketing director for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

“We know that we’ve had lots of runoff; we’ve had higher than normal ground water levels. All of those things can contribute to this issue,” Swenson said. “But we need to make sure that we understand what caused this so that if we’re going to make a repair — if a repair is needed — that it’s the appropriate and proper repair and it’s thorough.”

Service on the Green Line between the West Bank and Stadium Village stations was also stopped around 11:40 a.m. after a reported mudslide near the tracks, according to a Metro Transit notice. Light rail service between the stations resumed around 12:30 p.m. with some delays expected. A replacement bus service was used for about an hour while light rail service was halted, according to Metro Transit spokesperson Drew Kerr.

This is a breaking news report. More information will be added as it becomes available.