The 117-year-old bridge that connects Boom Island to Nicollet Island has reopened after a nearly $2 million rehabilitation.
The reopening of the historic railroad crossing was delayed by about two months as crews struggled to get construction materials to the site, according to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
The bridge, which was built in 1901 and used by the Wisconsin Central Railroad, has been closed since May. It’s part of a rail corridor that extends down the northeast flank of the island to where the line once connected with Burlington Northern tracks.
Wisconsin Central used the bridge to connect to its former rail yard on Boom Island.
The rail yards were removed in the 1970s, when the city was making way for a planned interstate that would run across Boom Island. The interstate project was nixed and the bridge was turned over to the Park Board.
It’s been used by bicyclists and pedestrians ever since, with about 160 people crossing it daily, according to Park Board estimates.
The board tried to repair the bridge in early 2017, but the plans were shot down by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission because the work would have replaced timber and steel with concrete.
New plans were drawn up to rehab the bridge and keep as much of the bridge’s original wood and steel structural design as possible, according to city planners.
Minor work still needs to be done this spring, including some surface repairs, paint touch-ups and replanting the grass around the site, project manager Dan Elias said in a statement.
The Park Board “appreciates everyone’s patience while the bridge was closed,” he said.