Work slated on Penn Avenue bridge over the creek

The city plans to upgrade the Penn Avenue bridge crossing Minnehaha Creek, said Jeff Johnson, Minneapolis’ Bridge Maintenance Engineer, widening the sidewalks to improve snow removal.

The work will cost $400,000. The project should start this fall and end by spring, he said. With the exception of a day or two, the work should not require any traffic disruption.

The city should have drawings by February, Johnson said.

Johnson will work with City Councilmember Barret Lane (13th Ward) to coordinate and publicize the design meetings with the Fulton and Lynnhurst neighborhood groups.

"We have a lot of options for aesthetic treatments," Johnson said. "We could do observation decks or anything. We have a chance to do something nice here. It is a lovely area."

The 1902 dirt-filled arch bridge is deteriorating, he said. The masonry walls are starting to fail.

"There is no sidewalk to speak of there," Johnson said. "It is very dangerous. That was part of what was driving this issue. We want to be able to plow the snow with the jeep."

The bridge will have 10 feet of sidewalk on both sides at the narrowest point, including space needed for a railing and a traffic barrier, he said.

The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District gave the city the needed permits for the project, Johnson said.

The city needs added approvals from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, including permission to remove a few "really nice" trees, Johnson said. The city will plant two trees for every one it takes down.

The city will resurface Penn Avenue for 100 feet to 150 feet on either side of the bridge.