Stone Arch Bridge preservation costs nearly double to $25M

Preserving the Stone Arch Bridge

Preserving the Stone Arch Bridge

The Stone Arch Bridge has shuttled people in Minneapolis from the west bank of the Mississippi River to the East Bank for more than 140 years, and it’s about to get a preservation facelift to keep it safe and operating for decades to come.

When discussions started about Stone Arch Bridge repair work in 2019, the Minnesota Department of Transportation estimated the preservation work needed on the historic bridge would cost about $13.2 million. Revised estimates show the cost of doing the work will be slightly more than $25 million.

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It was built by railroad pioneer James J. Hill as a passenger rail line and it had up to 82 rail cars traveling on the bridge each day when it opened. And for people like Ava Kharin, it still facilitates commerce.

“So, Trader Joe’s is, personally, the easiest to get to. And it’s always just really nice to cross the bridge,” Kharin said. “It feels like a place of mindfulness for me. I really like it.”

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board estimates more than 3,700 pedestrians and 1,700 bicyclists cross the Stone Arch Bridge every day.

MnDOT did not have anyone available for an interview about the new projected costs, but a spokesperson issued the following statement which said, in part:

“The bridge is located in a very challenging area with the river, falls, and between two lock and dams that make construction access difficult and the economic environment is different now than when the bridge was originally programmed for work (in 2019).”

MnDOT expects to start the preservation work on the Stone Arch Bridge in spring 2024, and the projected end date is sometime in spring 2026.