Drivers in Carver may lose a bridge as the City Council considers renovations to its downtown streets.

Portions of 3rd Street W., 5th Street W., Hickory Street, Ash Street, Jorgenson Street, and Broadway Street could be upgraded. The City Council is also considering what to do about a bridge that has been rated structurally deficient since at least 1991.

“The majority of the downtown streets have been reconstructed in the past 10 years,” said Brent Mareck, Carver’s city manager. “These streets are the last to be reconstructed.”

One thing that may not be reconstructed, however, is W. 3rd Street’s bridge that runs over Carver Spring. That bridge is one of three in the city’s downtown, and it is the only one there to be classified as structurally deficient by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

“The bridge was built in 1912, and it currently is in poor condition,” a report by the city’s engineer said. The two nearby bridges were rebuilt in late 2012 and 2013.

Council members are weighing two options for the bridge. The first would close the bridge to vehicles, create two turnarounds at the ends of the streets leading to the bridge, with a pedestrian walk between them. That plan would remove 17 downtown parking spaces.

The second proposal would turn the thoroughfare into a one-way road from east to west and remove one parking spot. If the second option is taken, the city’s engineer recommended that weight restrictions be put on the bridge to keep larger vehicles and buses from using it.

The city would also need “to continue to monitor the condition of the bridge and decide at a later date if it will be replaced,” according to the city engineer’s report.

A public hearing about the project has been scheduled for 7 p.m. March 6. Construction would begin in June, with an expected completion in spring 2018.

“As we go through the process, we’ll have a more clear direction of where we’re headed,” said Mareck, the city manager.

 

Gabriel Sanchez is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.