MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A bridge used for the American Birkebeiner cross country ski race is making its way to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl.
Tuesday morning, semi-trucks carrying segments of the Birkie bridge arrived along Nicollet Mall. It will take 12 semis to bring the iconic bridge from Hayward, Wisconsin to downtown Minneapolis.
“And so we’re so excited to see a couple of days of semi-trucks rolling in with the Birkie Bridge and it’s a signal of what’s to come, the excitement to come with Super Bowl LIVE, and the Super Bowl coming to Minnesota,” said Michael Howard of the Super Bowl Host Committee.
The Birkie Bridge is a key component of the North America’s largest cross country ski race that takes place each year in Hayward. The bridge takes racers over a highway and into downtown Hayward to the finish line of the American Birkebeiner. But crews this week packed it up for another finish line, the NFL’s finish line in Minneapolis.
“You know the American Birkebeiner International Bridge is really our baby,” said John Popp of the American Birkebeiner. “It never leaves Hayward. So, for this to be its inaugural experience outside of the state of Wisconsin heading into downtown Minneapolis, it will be quite an experience.”
The bridge will go up along Nicollet Mall and over 9th Street. The Loppet Foundation will truck in snow to make it a ski track.
“There will be some cross country skiing as well as fat fire bike racing, skijoring and other winter fun happening on the Birkie Bridge throughout the ten-day Super Bowl festival,” said Howard.
It’s not the only structure rising from the frozen pavement. Outside of U.S. Bank Stadium crews are already erecting the superstructure for the Super Bowl worldwide media compound. It’s that worldwide attention Birkebeiner organizers hope the bridge will attract.
“The largest sporting event in North America,” said Popp. “The most watched and to be a part of that in unbelievably exciting … certainly to showcase what it means to be outdoor and active in the upper Midwest in winter is a dream come true.”
Crews will begin constructing the bridge this weekend.