A rally to encourage restoration of the Old Cedar Avenue bridge will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at the bridge site in Bloomington. Gov. Mark Dayton is scheduled to speak. Prior to 2002, the bridge was a magnet for birders wishing to see waterbirds from the vantage point of a span crossing the Minnesota River. Slowly but surely falling apart, the bridge was deemed unsafe in 2002 and closed to foot and bike traffic.
Many people want to see the bridge restored. It can’t be replaced because its been given national historic site status. Money to repair and restore the structure is available – at least most of the money needed. The sticking point is who’s going to take care of the bridge once it’s back in use. The city of Bloomington owns the bridge. It sits within the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Regional and state hiking/biking trails would cross the bridge if there were a bridge to cross. None of those agencies, however, wants to own the bridge or take responsibility for its upkeep.
The rally hopes to pump more voices and energy into finding a caretaker and beginning restoration design.
The bridge is located south of the intersection of Old Cedar Ave and Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington. From Cedar Avenue south past the Mall of America, exit at County Road 1 / Old Shakopee Road. Turn right. Follow East Old Shakopee Road to Old Cedar Avenue. Go left down the hill to the large parking lot at the bridge site. Hiking-biking trails begin at this point. The birding is excellent in both directions. From the lot on the trail to the right you find a boardwalk and overlook (first left off the trail) that has been very good lately for Sora, ducks, geese, and Great Egrets.
The bridge as it looks today.