Categorized | FEATURED

Neighborhood celebrates Prior Bridge re-opening

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin

Story and photos by MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
In an ambitious summer of road repair, nine St. Paul bridges across I-94 experienced partial or full closure this summer. The budget for the project was $4.3 million and included bridge repair at Pelham, Cretin, Cleveland, Prior, Pascal, Hamline, Lexington, Victoria and Dale streets and avenues.

The longest closure was expected to be Prior Ave., and it was. For four months beginning Apr. 27, the Prior Ave. Bridge was closed for an overhaul that included a full deck replacement, new railings, and improved lighting.

The neighborhood celebrated the bridge’s re-opening at Merriam Terrace Park at with activities for all ages just before the bridge opened to traffic at 8pm Aug. 30.

Kevin Walker, MnDOT communication and engagement director, said, “This was a chance for us to say ‘thank you’ to the neighborhood residents and business owners, the Union Park District Council and the Merriam Park Recreation Center. Everyone has been supportive and very patient.”

“In advance of the project,” Walker explained, “we talked with every nearby business owner about the possible impact this closure might have. The original Prior Ave. Bridge was built in 1966. We expect this one to last another fifty years.”

Walker said that the “Prior Ave. Bridge reconstruction is part of the City of St. Paul’s Bike Plan. With its spacious bike lanes and buffers, it will provide a safe north-south route for bikers for years to come.”

prior-bridge-opening-01Photo left: Crews worked up until the last minute marking and taping lane dividers. The new bridge has 10’ wide sidewalks, 6’ wide bike lanes and 6’ wide buffers in both directions and 12’ wide lanes for automobiles.



Photo right: Terry Barnes (left) and Lili Zoltai (right) explore the new bridge. The Prior Ave. Bridge was one of nine bridges undergoing repair across I-94 between Pelham Blvd. and Dale St. this summer.





prior-bridge-opening-17Photo left: One of two bands performing was Eli’s Sons, local “public figures” as they like to call themselves, and solid musicians playing around town.





prior-bridge-opening-20Photo right: At the Prior Ave. Bridge Community Social, bikers of all ages decorated their bikes. Free bike tune-ups were offered by the Express Bike Shop. A social enterprise of Keystone Community, they reinvest 100% of their proceeds into their urban apprenticeship program – developing the work, leadership, and entrepreneurship skills of neighborhood youth.




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