Crews work on paving the walking trail with concrete. The trail runs along West River Parkway under the bridge and connects to the observation plaza on the south side of the river. Photo by Ivy Chang.
Cleanup, finishing work continues
I-35W Bridge traffic opened at 5 a.m. on Thursday, September 18, when dozens of cars lined up on both sides of the bridge behind state troopers and emergency vehicles to slowly cross the bridge. People waved to each other as they passed and celebrated the opening.
On the south side and under the bridge, crews completed West River Parkway and are building walking trails. On both sides of the river, they continue to build observation decks around the piers.
Final site cleanup is taking place in all areas around and under the bridge as smaller projects are completed.
Road changes to reflect pre-bridge collapse condition
The city of Minneapolis is making changes on the roads directly connecting to the bridge. In order to handle the influx of cars onto city streets, traffic signals were reset and will be set back to accommodate fewer cars on side streets.
On Highway 280, which handled the traffic from 35W after the bridge collapse, the two lanes that flowed into 35W north have been re-striped and reduced to one lane, the condition before the collapse.
Minnesota Department of Transportation removed two traffic lights at Highway 280 last year and will restore one light. Traffic has flowed smoothly on northbound Highway 280 but Mn/DOT plans to replace the traffic light on the southbound lanes to allow turns onto Broadway.
Extra lanes require public input
Extra lanes on Interstate 94 between Highway 280 and downtown Minneapolis will remain for now, as will the added lane on eastbound I-694 in the suburbs of Fridley and Brooklyn Park. Mn/DOT will seek public input on the extra lanes in order to get environmental and federal approvals that are necessary to create extra lanes.
Metro Transit, the public bus system in the Twin Cities, said all but one park-and-ride lots created after the bridge collapse will remain, and the 22 extra buses will run until the end of the year while the agency evaluates traffic.