The Long Meadow Bridge (Minnesota State Bridge Number 3145) spans Long Meadow Lake, an overflow of the Minnesota River. The 1920 bridge is comprised of five Camelback through trusses with riveted connections and is constructed of steel. The six abutments and piers supporting the five spans are built of reinforced concrete. The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As described in the NHRP registration, when it was constructed, it was the longest steel highway bridge with concrete flooring in the state and today it remains as the state’s longest Pratt through-truss bridge, and one of only five bridges using a camelback through-truss system considered historic.
The existing bridge is a fracture critical, non-redundant structure that is in poor condition, which has resulted in its being closed to all users since 2002. There is currently no connection between existing regional trail systems. For the public to make a connection across the Minnesota River or Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge to trails on either side, a minimum four-mile detour is required.
A connection in this location is important not only to the City of Bloomington, but to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (owner and operator of the Refuge), the DNR (state park and trail connections), Dakota and Hennepin Counties, and other neighboring cities such as Eagan and Burnsville. This connection is also important to bicycle commuters, recreational enthusiasts, and visitors to the Refuge and nearby Fort Snelling State Park.
The City invested significant resources in studies of options to replace or rehabilitate the existing structure in order to restore the non-motorized river crossing/trail connection. A critical consideration in the study process has been the historic status of existing bridge. After consideration of the various options and extensive consultation with stakeholder agencies, in September 2013 the City Council approved the rehabilitation option for implementation.
Visit the City of Bloomington website for more history about the project: https://www.bloomingtonmn.gov/OCAB