BR134 Bridge 9 Program

Project Details:

Project Start Date: 4/15/2019

Ongoing Program: Y/N

Submitting Department: Public Works

Contact Person: Ole Mersinger

Level of Need: Important

Estimated Project Completion Date: 11/15/2027

Department Priority: 27 of 62

Contact Phone Number: (612) 673-3537

Website: TBD

Project Location:

Address: Bridge 9 Program

City Sector: Downtown East

Affected Neighborhoods: Cedar Riverside and University

Affected Wards: 2

West River Pkwy in the downtown side and East River Pkwy over the Mississippi River by the University of Minnesota

Project Description:

Bridge No. 9 was constructed in 1922 by the Northern Pacific Railroad to carry freight railroad tracks over the Mississippi River. Portions of a preceding structure, constructed in the late 1800’s, were used for the 1922 replacement. This bridge is commonly known as Bridge No. 9, based on its Northern Pacific Railroad nomenclature.

Following acquisition of the bridge by the City of Minneapolis in 1986 and conversion to pedestrian use in 1999, the bridge currently provides a Mississippi River crossing for the Minneapolis bicycle trail system adjacent to the University of Minnesota East and West Bank campuses. This bridge connects the Bluff Street Trail to the Dinkytown Greenway, serving connections between downtown Minneapolis to the University of Minnesota. Estimated daily trips (EDT) for 2017 were 1,370 for bicyclists and 810 for pedestrians.

In 1994, Bridge No. 9 was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion A as a Community Planning and Development project that that has made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of Minneapolis history.

The main spans are two 245-foot deck trusses. Three curved, riveted, steel plate girder approach spans are located on the west side and two steel, riveted plate girder approach spans are located on the east side. The total length of the bridge is 952 feet. The deck width is 27 feet at the two truss spans (Span 3 and Span 4). The east approach spans (Span 1 and Span2) and the west approach spans (Span 5, Span 6 and Span7) have a 30-foot deck width. The two truss spans were originally constructed with an open tie deck. The ties were replaced with a concrete deck when the pedestrian conversion was completed in 1999. The original ballast deck approach spans on both sides remained with bituminous pavement replacing the rail and ballast.

Purpose and Justification:

In 2012, Critical Findings related to Pier 2 and Pier 4 were discovered and led to immediate emergency repairs. Repairs at Pier 3 began in 2014 and were completed in 2015.

Public Works assessed the bridge condition and assembled a comprehensive list of bridge needs intended to ascertain long-term funding level requirements. It is also intended to prioritize projects. Issues which might impact bridge safety earlier than other issues are assigned higher priorities. These priorities may change as the bridge condition is reassessed annually during regular bridge inspections. The paramount objective is to maintain a high level of bridge safety.

Encasements of Pier 7 and Pier 2; Abutment 1 bridge seat reconstruction and rock stabilization are considered priority 1 in year 2019.

Project Visuals and Map:

Project Cost Breakdown

Department Funding Request


Have Grants for this Project been secured?


Describe status and timing details of secured or applied for grants or other non-City funding sources:

No grants have been secured at this time.

Describe any collaborative arrangements with outside project partners, including who they are and what their role is with the project:

This project will be coordinated with the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.


State Law Chapter 462.356 (Subd. 2) requires review of all capital improvements for compliance with the comprehensive municipal plan. Chapter 13, Section 4 of the City Charter requires Location and Design Review for the purpose of approving the sale of bonds for these projects.

Policy 5.4 Enhance the safety, appearance, and effectiveness of the city's Infrastructure.

Transportation: Minneapolis will build, maintain and enhance access to multi-modal transportation options for residents and businesses through a balanced system of transportation modes that supports the City’s land use vision, reduces adverse transportation impacts, decreases the overall dependency on automobiles, and reflects the city’s pivotal role as the center of the regional transportation network. This project is consistent with planning and policy guidelines set forth in the City’s comprehensive plan Minneapolis 2040.

Provide the date that Location and Design Review was conducted for the project, the outcome of that analysis and the date formal action was taken by the Planning Commission:

Location and Design Review for this project took place on May 23, 2014. The project was found consistent with the City’s comprehensive plan.

Economic Development

Will the project contribute to growth in the city’s tax base?

Maintains existing tax base

Describe the economic development impact of the project:

Not Applicable

Does the project support redevelopment opportunity that without the project would be infeasible?

Not Applicable


Is the proposed project on an existing or planned transitway, transit route, or high-volume pedestrian corridor? If yes, provide details on how the project will improve the transit and/or pedestrian experience.

No, Bridge # 9 is not on an existing or planned transitway, transit route. It is a high-volume non-motorized river crossing bridge.

Does the proposed project anticipate multi-modal enhancements (sidewalks, bicycle or transit facilities)? Provide details.

Bridge #9 has provided a significant bicycle and pedestrian connection between Downtown and the University of Minnesota. Pedestrian and bicyclists will benefit from the preservation of this crucial Mississippi River crossing. The City’s off-street trail facility over the Mississippi River provides a convenient and attractive alternative for local residents and University of Minnesota students and employees to travel between the Cedar Riverside Neighborhood on the West Bank to the U of M in the East Bank.

Is the right-of-way constrained and do you anticipate that modes of travel will be competing for space? Provide details, is there potential for innovative design options? Provide details

No the right-of-way is not constrained by the width of the bridge. There should be sufficient width to accommodate all necessary modes..

Operating Impacts

Operations & Capital Asset Maintenance:

Is this request for new or existing infrastructure? Existing

What is the expected useful life of the project/Improvement?

Year that Operating Incr/(Decr) will take effect?

What is the estimated annual operating cost increase or (decrease) for this project? ($4,500)

Any Prior Year Remaining Bond Authorizations? No

Prior Year Remaining Bond Authorizations: Not Applicable

Describe how operating cost increases or decreases were determined and include details such as personnel costs, materials, contracts, energy savings, etc:

This project requires major rehabilitation and it is not economical for city maintenance crew to perform rehabilitation work. The amount is an average based on actual costs tracked in the finance system for maintenance work on the bridge which were provided by the Bridge Maintenance Foreman.

If new infrastructure, discuss how the department/agency will pay for the increased annual operating costs:

Not Applicable

For new infrastructure, describe the estimated timing and dollar amount of future capital investment required to realize the full expected useful life of the project:

Not Applicable

Project Coordination

Describe completion status for ongoing projects and how and when the department/agency plans to use the prior year remaining bond authorizations:

Not Applicable

If this is a new project, describe the major project phases and timing anticipated for completing the project:

Public Works anticipates beginning preliminary design and public involvement in 2018, completing a final design in 2018 and construction in 2019.

Scalability/Funding Allocation Flexibility – discuss any flexibility to increase or decrease funding among the years in the five-year plan and the most that could be spent in a given year:

The scalability may be limited by the requirements of potential outside funding.

Public Safety

Collaborative and community-inclusive strategies to ensure safety for all members of our community:

Increase accessibility of public infrastructure and public amenities.

Use design principles that ensure a safe and welcoming environment when designing all projects that impact the public realm.

Prioritize safety investments in line with the Complete Streets Policy.

Improve safety for pedestrians, and prioritize pedestrians over other road users, especially at street intersections; focus on signals, crosswalks, lighting, signage, visibility and lowering vehicular speeds through street design and other measures.

Public Health

The City has declared racism a public health emergency, noting that “racism in all its forms causes persistent discrimination and disparate outcomes in many areas of life”. Public Works recognizes the impact of racism in transportation systems and this project seeks to promote transportation equity and justice in accordance with the goals of the Strategic & Racial Equity Action Plan 2019-2022 by providing equitable access to multimodal transportation in all parts of the City through thoughtful planning and design.

Environmental Justice:

The City prioritizes sustainable practices and renewable resources to equitably address climate change while restoring and protecting our soil, water and air.

Reduce the energy, carbon, and health impacts of transportation through reduced single-occupancy vehicle trips and phasing out of fossil fuel vehicles.

Plan, design, build, maintain, and operate the city’s transportation system in a way that prioritizes pedestrians first, followed by bicycling and transit use, and lastly motor vehicle use. (Complete Streets Policy. Adopted May 2016.)

Improve the pedestrian environment in order to encourage walking and the use of mobility aids as a mode of transportation.

Improve and expand bicycle facilities in order to encourage bicycling as a mode of transportation.

Improve access to goods and services via walking, biking and transit.

Support development and public realm improvements near existing and planned METRO stations that result in walkable districts for living, working, shopping, and recreating.

Proactively improve the public realm to support a pedestrian friendly, high-quality and distinctive built environment.

Improve the tree canopy and urban forest.

Improve air quality by reducing emissions of pollutants that harm human health and the environment.

Minneapolis has also declared a climate emergency that demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse and address the consequences and causes of climate change. Through the Transportation Action Plan, Public Works has stated its intention to drastically reduce the transportation sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, and this program/project aims to develop networks that will bring a climate-forward transportation system for the people of Minneapolis.

Built Environment & Transportation:

The City prioritizes high quality neighborhoods, streets, infrastructure and equitable access to multimodal transportation in all parts of the City through thoughtful planning and design.

The City of Minneapolis will promote design for the built environment that is dynamic and durable, reflects the diversity of Minneapolis residents, and contributes to a sense of place and community identity. The City will also proactively improve the public realm, including streets, sidewalks, parks and open spaces between buildings, to ensure that public spaces and private development are thoughtfully connected.

Achieving this goal also requires changes to the transportation system that make it easier to walk, bike or use transit to access daily needs. The City will proactively improve the pedestrian environment and continue to build and maintain a network of bikeways, while working with Metro Transit to increase the frequency, speed and reliability of the public transit system.

Additional Information

Capital improvement projects such as this one complete a corridor and enhance the character of the area which helps preserve property values and the city’s tax base.