Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An 'exotic' replacement for the Lowry Avenue Bridge?
As a southsider, my favorite part of Northeast Minneapolis is Marshall Avenue, especially the rows of bars offering dagos, cheap beer and pull tabs. (Remember the old Polish Palace?) After a cold one, there's nothing like the thrill of driving over the Lowry Avenue bridge, located just west of Lowry and Marshall Avenues. It's the kind of bridge that makes you want to hang your head out the window, listen to the thump-thump-thump of the car's tires banging over the steel truss bridge.

Unfortunately, all good fun must come to an end.

Hennepin County plans to replace the aging bridge, which was constructed in 1958 with, according to the Star Tribune, "some 1905 components." Hmmm, I wonder what that means. The county wants to spend $109 million on a new bridge. Construction could start as early as next year, but that would depend on the state and federal governments kicking in a ton of dough ($24 million and $73 million respectively). Designs range from steel archbasket handle to single pylon cable-stayed to concrete box. I highly recommend clicking on this link to the Star Tribune graphic that accompanied the article to see pictures of the possible designs. They're pretty cool.

But if you're like Pete Hanson of Rocket Crane Co. (his business is near the bridge), you'll say, give me a simple bridge. "As a taxpayer of Hennepin County, or the state of Minnesota, do we really need to have an exotic bridge there? ... I don't believe so," Hanson told a Strib reporter.


BK said...

After living in NE for 2 years just off Bottineau Park and driving that bridge every day (when I lived there), I have to say I'd miss the character of that type of bridge if they replaced it with a simple interstate style span. There's something about the texture of the steel trusses and the play of the shadows on your car as you drive over that bridge on a sunny winter day. Out of those three designs on the Strib I'd probably go for the Steel Arch Basket, but it almost seems too polished for a mostly working class feeling neighborhood. At least you'd still have the shadow play and a feeling of gateway like passage through the arch structure rather than driving by a pylon. Maybe if it wasn't white and was more of a natural steel blue-grey or doing something else to soften the modernity short of going Disney-esque in its design.

Anonymous said...

Its Marshall Street, not avenue. As a southsider myself, I know that Lake Street meets Marshall Avenue over the river. In Nordeast though, its street, which meets up with East River Road as you travel North, Northwest.