Penn Avenue traffic to be delayed at creek

Traffic on Penn Avenue South at Minnehaha Creek will get pinched for two to three weeks in late January and/or early February, as the city crews overhaul the bridge, according to Minneapolis Department of Public Works staff.

Workers have already installed silt fencing to protect the creek during construction, said Jeff Johnson, Public Work's bridge maintenance engineer. Crews should finish the $500,000 project by May or June.

The biggest traffic impact will occur during the two to three weeks when workers need large equipment to install new pilings -- structural support for the current dirt-filled arch bridge, Johnson said.

"Our intent is to keep Penn Avenue open," he said. "It may be one lane, period. We will try for one lane both ways, with flagmen."

They would work out details with city traffic planners in early January, he said. The lane restrictions would occur between approximately 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Residents who reviewed the project told Public Works they liked the look of the fieldstone bridges that crossed the creek at Logan, Knox and James avenues south, Johnson said. The new concrete facing on the Penn Avenue bridge would replicate that look.

The project will widen the sidewalks at the bridge to 9 feet, add ornamental railings and pay for two trees for every one removed, Johnson said.