What this new bridge means...by Michael Caputo, Minnesota Public Radio
How did people deal with the loss of the I-35W bridge? How will they use the new bridge -- and what does the replacement span mean? We posed those questions to members of the MPR Public Insight Network. Here are some of their responses.
Although I regularly took Highway 280 before the bridge collapse, it became my only option to venture north out of the university area. Due to that backup, I had to take roads such as Larpenteur to avoid that traffic.
I will regularly use (the new bridge) to travel from Uptown to the quarry area and Roseville. With the bridge down, this particular route is wretched. Beginning on 35W, it requires you to take 94 to 280 and then to 36. A 10-minute drive becomes a 30-minute one.
People really are skeptical about how quickly the bridge was built. Also, students and faculty at the university are terrified about the status of the Washington Ave. bridge, and are afraid that once the 35 bridge is open, the Washington Ave. bridge will be completely shut down.
Allison Troyer, student, Minneapolis
(To deal with the detour, I) shifted to the 10th Ave. bridge or Hennepin Ave. bridge.
(I will use the bridge for) driving trips to south Minneapolis.
Traffic in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood will change. Congestion from drivers on alternate routes will decrease. Traffic on the University/4th St. SE will increase.
Preliminary designs for the bridge called for closing 2nd St. SE and blocking any future connection between East River Rd. and Main St. SE.
After intense lobbying by the neighborhood and city, the design was changed to keep 2nd open and reserve an 80-foot right-of-way to accomodate a future parkway along the bluff at the south end of the bridge.
Theodore Tucker, a planner from Minneapolis
(To deal with the detour, I) changed routes to get over the river and avoided events/meetings across river whenever possible.
(I will use the bridge) as before collapse, but not until it has been in use for at least a week to a month.
(The bridge) will always symbolize for me a failure at the highest levels of state leadership, and will mark a turning point when reflecting on this time years from now.
Whether it will mark a turn to better leadership, or be a signature for the decline of inclusive and progressive ambitions in our community and political affairs remains to be seen.
David Burck, Minneapolis
As a bike commuter from northeast (Minneapolis) into downtown, I've adjusted my habits by allowing more time and being a lot more careful, due to the huge increase in local traffic for the past year.
As someone who lives a few blocks from 35W and who was used to using it as a quick way to access any of the interstates, I've now gotten used to the detour across the 10th Ave. bridge and the slow traffic passing alongside the construction site. It's impossible to drive the 10th Ave. bridge and not look.
I don't know anybody in northeast who isn't excited to get the bridge back. Between 35W and the Lowry bridge closing, we have been pretty isolated and many of our local businesses have suffered.
The local streets are terribly clogged with commuter traffic, particularly throughout old St. Anthony, with the worst of it crossing the Central Ave./3rd Ave. bridge. As a year-round bike commuter into downtown I am looking forward to a safer, more sane ride once the traffic returns to normal.
Jacob Krause, marketing director, Minneapolis
Whenever I want to go south of downtown Minneapolis, I will take the I-35W bridge. I currently need to go to work on the 10th Ave. bridge that parallels the old/new bridge. This is often very backed up as people use it as an I-35W detour. I look forward to having the 10th Ave. bridge back in use as it was intended.
There is a way that the opening of the new bridge needs to be marked with regret, and somber reflection that this situation occurred in the first place. I will never cross that bridge without remembering the tragedy and all the people who were injured, families ripped apart emotionally, people who will never choose to cross that bridge again due to PTSD.
Diane Greve, a pastoral care provider from Minneapolis
My sister lives in Columbia Heights, so going to her house from south Minneapolis has been the biggest change. We tried different ways. My parents used 280, I tried 94 to Dowling, but the best option seemed to be getting off the freeway and crossing over the 10th Ave. bridge, then getting back on.
I will use (the new bridge) to get to my sister's when I visit. I think that some of the businesses around there, like the quarry, may have been permanently impacted by the change in people's habits. My husband used to go there regularly, but he has since found alternatives. I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed with the alternatives instead, but I'm not sure.
Diana Schleisman, a consultant from Minneapolis
(Had two options for dealing with the detour. I) took 35W until the detour, then used the Washington Ave. bridge and through U of M campus to my office in northeast Minneapolis. (Or I) took surface/city streets to avoid 35W altogether.
(I will use the bridge) twice daily again, unless traffic is congested; then back to one of my alternative routes.
Many colleagues talk about how it will save them time by either taking the 35W Bridge, or by the alleviated traffic congestion on routes that became alternatives to 35W after the bridge went down.
Dan Ness, Minneapolis
The opening will be a blessing for me. I don't own a car. Apparently, in contrast to most people, I have legs that propel me to where I need to go from my apartment on Franklin Ave.
In addition I often get a power-assist from my bicycle, and for my daily commute I simply bike to one of the light rail stations in south Minneapolis and ride the train down to Bloomington.
However closure of the bridge has resulted in many commuters using Franklin Ave. to get onto 94 westbound. They approach the intersection of Franklin and Riverside very fast, and they sure aren't going to slow down for a biker or pedestrian (If we had any social importance we'd be driving cars, right?). They intimidate me, so I have to wait for them to clear before I can continue on my way. I'm glad they're getting their freeway back. Hopefully now they'll leave me alone.
Kenneth Adams, health researcher, Minneapolis
I'm downtown, while my grown children live on the other side of the bridge. Since the collapse, I've had to navigate a network of new streets whenever I visit them. Denied the speed and convenience of a major thoroughfare, I discovered places and businesses I'd seldom passed before, much less noticed.
At first, the extra 15 minutes of driving seemed inconvenient, but really, it's expanded my personal map of the Twin Cities. When I'm in a hurry, I'll use (the new bridge). But I expect the new route I've come to enjoy will be even less crowded with the opening of the bridge.
Brian Herder, advertising executive, Minneapolis
(After the collapse) I started taking the bus nearly every day, which goes down Larpenteur and Hennepin and over the Hennepin bridge.
I will use the (new) bridge occasionally when I have to drive to work. I hope that it will take traffic off 280, which I use often just to get around town for errands, etc.
Jennifer Wright, law professor, Roseville