Sunday, September 14, 2008


When the 35W Bridge fell down in August 2007, it landed on a popular scenic route with bike and pedestrian paths along the Mississippi River. During the reconstruction of the bridge, those paths have remained closed, but for the Tour of Minneapolis bike event on September 14, 2008, cyclists were allowed to ride under the nearly-finished new bridge. We were on a trike tandem, so I was able to photograph the bridge from the back seat.

The Tour of Minneapolis passed under another troubled bridge: the Washington Avenue Bridge between the East Bank and West Bank campuses of the University of Minnesota. Ordinarily, the upper deck of the Washington Avenue Bridge is full of cyclists and pedestrians, but structural deficiencies that were discovered just before classes started for the fall have limited the upper-deck foot traffic to a narrow path down the center.

A small footbridge across the Minnehaha Creek along the Tour route was also gated shut because of crumbling supports, and we passed the Lowry Avenue Bridge -- closed to traffic because of structural inadequacy. We crossed the Mississippi River on yet another bridge with thoroughly-corroded guardrails.

It could have been called the tour of the crumbling infrastructure.

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