Cedar Ave Bridge- Some Progress

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 24th, 2012 1 response

There’s reason for cautious optimism that the deadlock over the Cedar Ave bike bridge may have been broken. According to Dorian Grilley of the Minnesota Bicycle Alliance, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, owners of the land surrounding the bridge, received a federal grant for promoting active living in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. That money could be used to not only refurbish the bridge, but also take it off the hands of the City of Bloomington. As with any grant, there are a couple of political hurdles to overcome, but Dorian is confident that they are manageable.

This is a multi-step process, but the broad outline is that the Fish and Wildlife Service will give Bloomington enough money to conduct an engineering study of the bridge. The goal is to determine what has to be done to make it safe for bikes, pedestrians and service vehicles. When the engineering study is complete, the Fish and Wildlife Service will agree to do the necessary work if the City of Bloomington gives them ownership of the bridge. Usually this is done with a $1 “sale.” Bloomington has never been an enthusiastic owner of the Cedar Ave bridge and is likely to sign off on the agreement. The first step in that process will occur this evening at the Bloomington City Council meeting.

One possible hurdle is a potential funding gap between what the Feds can afford and the actual cost of repairing the bridge. Governor Dayton, who spoke at a rally for the bridge on Saturday morning, pledged that he would sign any state legislation to make up the funding difference. The Governor is on board, but the measure would first have to pass through both houses of the state legislature. There lies the potential hurdle.

If everything falls in place, don’t expect to ride on the rebuilt bridge soon. The state legislature doesn’t meet again until next year, budgets don’t make money instantly available and the process for soliciting bids, hiring a contractor and scheduling construction all take time. Nevertheless, this is as close as we’ve been to getting the bridge replaced since it closed ten years ago.

Filed under: Bikeverywhere News

One Comment to “Cedar Ave Bridge- Some Progress”

  1. Tony Roberts Says:

    I’m happy to learn there is some possibility for movement on this. I was at the rally Saturday, and while there was a nice turnout and several expressions of support for repoening the bridge, I didn’t have the sense that anyone was really listening.