With construction on the Stone Arch Bridge starting Monday, people take their last walk across the complete span this weekend

Stone Arch Bridge closing Monday

Stone Arch Bridge closing Monday

The Stone Arch Bridge is Clawhammer Mike’s happy place.

“This is absolutely a magical spot for me,” he smiles.

A musician and a printmaker, one of his regular gigs – playing banjo and singing – is on the St. Anthony Main side.  

“100 times two years ago,” Clawhammer declares. “75 times last year, a bunch of times this year.”

But with his rescue dog Cora by his side, this banjo virtuoso is hardly alone- hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclists are packing the bridge on this beautiful weekend.  

“I love it. I didn’t really know about it until I moved here,” says Brita Borough, from Minneapolis. “When I saw the bridge here and I’m like, there’s no traffic and so it’s really nice.”

All those good vibes perhaps tempered a bit, with word that half the bridge- the St. Anthony Main side- is closing for repairs starting Monday.

“So, then we thought, at the very least bring the kids out, start one last walk all the way across,” says Sean Gau, who brought his family out to check out the bridge.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) says the 141-year-old structure needs a preservation facelift, to slow its deterioration. It’s the first repairs since it was converted into a pedestrian bridge in the mid-1990s.

“Repairing mortar, repairing stones, replacing stones as needed,” says Jesse Johnson, a MnDOT spokesperson. “The goal of this is to preserve what we already have, to make sure it lasts for years to come.”

For the $38.5 million project, crews will first close the St. Anthony Main side, from Monday until the spring of 2025- then the downtown side, until the fall- with the project scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2026.

Nicole and Sean Gau say construction or not, this is a special place.

“We’ll be back once it’s open again for sure,” she says. “I brought my husband kind of hiking all over here when we first started dating like 12 years ago.”

If you want those Stone Arch Bridge views after Monday, you can still walk from the downtown side, go halfway across, and then turn around.  

MnDOT recommends if you need to get across the river, you can use the Third Avenue Bridge, which has new barriers in place to protect pedestrians and bicyclers.

How does the Stone Arch evoke such strong emotions?

It’s a mystery, perhaps intertwined in stone, mortar, and memories.

“There’s nothing but peace and love on this bridge,” Clawhammer Mike declares. “I love it. I get to see the city at night, I get to see the sunset at night. I get to see the hawks and the eagles fly by, but I’m still in the city. I tell you, I really love it up here, and I’ll miss it terribly.”