“We’ve created a better bridge for this critical crossing of the Mississippi River,” said City Council President Barbara Johnson, who represents the Fourth Ward, on the west end of the bridge. “Thousands of commuters were inconvenienced by this construction over the past four-and-a-half months. They’ll see that it was worth the wait to get the bridge we have now. The new Camden Bridge will do a better job serving our drivers, cyclists and walkers for decades to come.”
“Maintaining our roads and bridges is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of municipal government,” said City Council Member Kevin Reich, who represents the First Ward, on the east end of the bridge. “This project has made the Camden Bridge stronger and safer for everyone who uses it. Some of the improvements, like the wider sidewalks, are easy to see. Others go into the structure of the bridge itself, so it holds up better over time.”
The Camden Bridge spans both the Mississippi River and Interstate 94, connecting 42nd Avenue North on the west and 37th Avenue Northeast on the east. Opening to traffic in 1975, the bridge had deteriorated over the years to the point where repairs were needed every year to maintain public safety.
Planning for these rehabilitations began in 2004, but had been on hold because funding was not available. By using Recovery funding to complete the bridge work now, the City was able to make these improvements before the bridge deteriorated further. Had the deterioration become more extensive, a new bridge would be needed at a cost well over $100 million.
“We couldn’t have done this work without the leadership of President Obama and those in Congress who voted for the Recovery Act,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak. “This bridge needed to be fixed, but the City couldn’t do it by itself. Now, because of President Obama’s leadership, we were able to put people to work in good jobs and make sure that the residents of North and Northeast Minneapolis are served by a safe, updated bridge that will last long into the future.”
One of the major components of the rehabilitation work involved replacing the bridge deck, giving it a new driving surface, new sidewalks and railings, and attractive new lighting. Beneath that deck, “fracture critical” pin and hanger connections were replaced. Other improvements include the replacement of traffic rails that had decayed over the past decades, replacement of expansion joints and the creation of a new storm water drainage system.
Public Works opted to completely close the Camden Bridge to traffic instead of a partial closure. A complete closure of the bridge allowed for a shorter construction period. As a result, this renovation work took less than five months, as opposed to the two years that would’ve been needed if the bridge were intermittently opened and closed during work.
The rehabilitation work on Camden Bridge is not totally complete. Next year, it will undergo a full repainting. However, the bridge will remain open to traffic during that work.
For more information on the project, and for updates as the work progresses, visit www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cip/camden.
The City’s application for federal Recovery dollars for the Camden Bridge is part of the Minneapolis Economic Recovery Strategy. City leaders developed the strategy to seek federal funding that preserves and creates jobs and makes public investments that translate into a more competitive future for the people of Minneapolis and this entire region. For more information on the Minneapolis Economic Recovery Strategy, visit www.minneapolisrecovery.us.