Historic Minneapolis bridge reopens this weekend, MnDOT festivities planned

A historic bridge in Minneapolis is set to reopen this weekend after being closed for more than three years due to construction.

A family-friendly event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring music, artist-led pumpkin painting, neighborhood-hosted activities, games, and construction vehicle displays will commemorate the reopening of the Third Avenue Bridge from the Downtown to St. Anthony Main neighborhoods in Minneapolis.

In January 2021, the Third Avenue Bridge – also known as the "Central Ave Bridge" – closed for renovations to, "preserve and enhance its historic and artistic features, improve area safety and accessibility, and upgrade walking and bicycling facilities on and approaching the bridge," according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Included in the project originally planned for two years is a new 13-foot wide mixed-use pedestrian and bike trail.

But while one bridge reopens, a nearby bridge has a planned closure that will also span at least the next two years.

Starting next spring, MnDOT will close the eastern half of the Stone Arch Bridge to allow for the repair and replacement of all the mortar between stones, as well as replacing stones as needed.

Then in 2025, the same work will be done on the half connecting downtown.

Throughout the two-year process the bridge will be half-open, but will offer no way to fully cross it.

Although none of the work is on the deck itself, MnDOT crews say they need the space for the repairs to be made.