Park Board closes pedestrian bridge

LYNNHURST — Safety concerns about a pedestrian bridge that crosses Minnehaha Parkway at Bryant Avenue South led to its closure April 7, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board reported.

The Park Board announcement cited “considerable rust” affecting the bridge, including eroded anchor bolts with up to a 50 percent loss of material. Those bolts “were just kind of falling apart,” said Paul Hokeness, the Lakes District manger.

The same inspection found eroded concrete footings.

“I don’t think anybody wants the liability for keeping it open,” Hokeness said.

Entrances to the bridge were sealed off. Signs directed pedestrians and bicyclists to crossings two blocks in either direction at Dupont Avenue South and Lyndale Avenue South.

Built in 1930, the bridge is 230 feet long and 9 feet wide, the Park Board reported. It underwent “minor structural repairs” in 1991 and a new deck was installed in 1997.

Earlier this spring a nearby resident called Park Board staff and said the bridge seemed “wobblier than usual,” Hokeness said.

He said parks staff tested the bridge and noticed the movement. Staff decided to close the bridge after other neighborhood residents said neighborhood children and teenagers would “purposely rock it,” he said.

An inspector from the city’s bridge maintenance department then examined the bridge and discovered the extent of the corrosion.

Hokeness said a city bridge inspector examined the bridge last year but cleared it to remain open because it fell within “sway level criteria.”

He said a bridge engineer would inspect the bridge and recommend a course of action, but added that no money was budgeted to repair or replace the structure. Funding would require approval from Park Board commissioners, he said.

“I’m guessing it’s going to be a lot of money,” Hokeness said. “… It could be closed for quite a while.”