Bridge closed as river nears its crest

A University-area landmark fell victim to spring flooding this week.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed the Stone Arch Bridge on Wednesday, citing concerns that rising waters could damage the 110-year-old structure.
“The current and debris hit the footings and can wash away part of the concrete, stone and earth” that make up a bridge’s foundation, said Kent Barnard, a public affairs employee in the metro division of the transportation department.
Barnard said the Stone Arch Bridge, which is located a half-mile downstream from the University’s southeast steam plant, is especially vulnerable because of the rough current from nearby St. Anthony Falls.
“I don’t believe we’ve seen any damage yet,” Barnard said.
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which keeps track of some of the water levels in Minnesota rivers, the Mississippi River has risen 17.1 feet above the river’s normal height and is near its projected crest.
Barnard said there is flooding on the banks of the Mississippi River, but the University is quite a bit higher than the river and people shouldn’t be overly concerned about serious flooding.
Barnard also said that he has been watching the St. Croix River and has noticed it isn’t rising as quickly as last week.
He said the St. Croix River was rising at a faster rate last week than this week and believes the Mississippi River will also rise slowly.
The National Weather Service predicts that the Mississippi will crest in the Twin Cities on Sunday.
— Lynne Kozarek