County Road 81 Bridges Deemed “Structurally Deficient”
High above the entrance to Victory Memorial Drive are three bridges on that bring traffic in and out of Robbinsdale on County Road 81.
“Each bridge carries about 10,000 cars a day,” said John Ekola, a senior professional engineer with Hennepin County. “That’s a significant volume of traffic.”
Hennepin County engineers deem the bridges “structurally deficient.” If people look closely, they’ll see segments of the bridge where the concrete has begun to crumble, exposing some of the metal rods underneath.
“It’s a common issue for aging bridges,” Ekola said. “It doesn’t mean it’s an immediate alarm for any safety concerns.”
While Ekola says there aren’t any immediate safety concerns, he admits the bridges have run their course.
“They’ve become a maintenance headache for Hennepin County,” said Ekola. “It’s best that we start the planning stages to replace them.”
Replacing Bridges Could Cost $16 Million
Planning is now underway to replace the bridges at an estimated cost of $16 million. But exactly what the new bridges would look like is still up for debate.
“Most anything is on the table,” Ekola said. “We’re gathering information from partnering agencies, from the community, from the hospital nearby. What we’ll do is take all that information to make some critical decisions moving forward.”
However, it is not just the bridges that would be replaced. The county also plans to make improvements to the intersection underneath them. Potential changes could include reconfiguring the lanes or shortening the distances that pedestrians have to cross.
After getting public feedback, the goal is to put together a final design this summer.
“We’re excited to get this project going,” Ekola said. “We’re excited to hear from the residents and everyone that lives in the immediate vicinity. Anyone that uses the facilities, we want to hear your feedback.”
Hennepin County engineers want people who use the County Road 81 bridges to take an online survey and share their thoughts on what they’d like to see in the final design.
The county hopes to begin construction in 2020.
More information can be found on the Hennepin County project website: https://www.hennepin.us/westbroadwaybridges