Minneapolis again to ask for state money to fix 'U' bridge

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis officials plan to ask the state for money to help fix an 86-year-old bridge that links the University of Minnesota's East and West Bank campuses.

Repairing the 10th Avenue Southeast Bridge would cost $42.5 million. The City Council will again ask the Minnesota Legislature for almost $32 million toward the project, or 75 percent of the costs, the Minnesota Daily (http://bit.ly/1QV58jB ) reported.

The bridge stretches across the Mississippi River from West River Parkway to Second Street Southeast. Repairs include fixing the deteriorated columns, floor beams, arches and bridge deck.

The proposed repairs would lengthen the life of the bridge by 40 years. The bridge was built in 1929 for $891,000.

If funding is approved, the repairs could be completed in 2018, said Melissa Lesch, senior government relations representative for Minneapolis. She added that replacing the bridge would cost up to three times more if repairs are not funded now.

"This is a fact of living in Minnesota," Lesch said. "We're a city with major river crossings, and we have to invest in capable infrastructure."

The rehab project originally was scheduled for 2014 and planned for completion this year. But City Council member Cam Gordon said the repairs were delayed because of a lack of city funding.

"From my perspective, if we don't get it fixed within 10 years, it will be too late," Gordon said.

Most of the damage is from water leaking into the supports of the bridge, Lesch said. The damage has reached the point where repairs are no longer cost-effective, she said.

"This is kind of the natural time," she said. "Bridges aren't meant to last forever, and all need rehab in that point in time."

The bridge previously was repaired in the 1970s and in 2001.


Information from: The Minnesota Daily, http://www.mndaily.com/

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