Stone Arch Bridge closure: MPRB cites last year's 'chaotic' 4th of July

Plans to close off a major artery for walkers and bikers in downtown Minneapolis are being met with harsh criticism this week.

"Honestly, it’s just a terrible idea," Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association President Vic Thorstenson said. "It’s crazy that you’re going to close this bridge down. I mean everybody uses it."

As of Wednesday night, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board intends to shut down the Stone Arch Bridge every night from this Friday to next Wednesday, closing it off overnight from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., over the Fourth of July weekend.

"We were kind of blown away," Thorstenson said. "It took us totally by surprise."

"It cuts off our neighborhood, basically from taking a pedestrian or bicycle route to downtown," Thorstenson continued.

Park officials declined an interview on Wednesday but sent FOX 9 this statement: 

"The Stone Arch Bridge will close overnight (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 30 and ending at 6 a.m., Wednesday, July 5. During this period of overnight closures, the bridge will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

"We are working to notify nearby residents and users of the Stone Arch Bridge ahead of Friday evening so they can make alternate transportation plans.

"Last year, large Fourth of July gatherings in riverfront parks and neighborhoods created unsafe, chaotic situations. This proactive measure will help park staff and public safety agencies better manage crowds and safety during a very busy time for riverfront parks and neighborhoods. Riverfront trail users will be detoured to the Hennepin Avenue Bridge."