Plymouth Avenue Bridge

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Plymouth Avenue Bridge
Coordinates44°59′35″N 93°16′23″W / 44.99306°N 93.27306°W / 44.99306; -93.27306Coordinates: 44°59′35″N 93°16′23″W / 44.99306°N 93.27306°W / 44.99306; -93.27306
CarriesFour lanes of Plymouth Avenue
CrossesMississippi River
LocaleMinneapolis, Minnesota
Maintained byCity of Minneapolis
ID number27611
DesignFour-span segmental bridge
Total length943 feet
Width55 feet
Longest span140 feet
Clearance below25 feet
Upper 2 Minneapolis Mississippi.svg
Bridges over the Mississippi in Minneapolis–St. Paul. Plymouth Ave. Bridge is in the bottom of the image between Broadway Ave. Bridge and Minneapolis BNSF

The Plymouth Avenue Bridge is a segmental bridge that spans the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was built in 1983 and was designed by VanDoren-Hazard-Stallings. The construction of this bridge was unique, for it was the first segmental concrete girder bridge built in Minnesota. This method of design uses a "form traveler" that shapes the concrete as it is built out from the piers. This avoided the use of falsework and avoided impeding river traffic. The concrete is also engineered to be salt-resistant by the use of post-tensioning. Tubes run through the concrete structure carrying strands of cable. With tension on the cables, the structure is designed to be under compression. This prevents cracks and hinders the intrusion of salt water. Since then, other bridges in Minnesota have used this construction method, including the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge in Minneapolis, the Wabasha Street Bridge in downtown St. Paul and the Wakota Bridge in South St. Paul.

The original bridge was a wooden Howe truss design, built in 1873. This was built when Minneapolis, then only on the west side of the river, consolidated with the city of St. Anthony, on the east side of the river. As part of the merger, Minneapolis (the western city) agreed to build two bridges, one upstream of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge and one downstream. That bridge was replaced in 1886 with an iron truss bridge. It was remodeled in 1913 and then raised in 1953 for more clearance. As a result of deterioration over the years, the bridge was closed in 1981 because the floor beams were rusted.

On Friday, October 22, 2010, the Plymouth Avenue Bridge was closed indefinitely "as a precaution, pending further investigation after a routine inspection discovered corrosion on cables that run through the bridge."[1] The bridge was reopened to foot traffic on Thursday, January 6, 2011 after engineers determined that the bridge was safe for pedestrian and bicycle use.[2] Use by vehicular traffic was not allowed until corroded cables could be replaced, a project that, following several delays, was completed as of August 9, 2013.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Plymouth Avenue Bridge closed after check discovers corrosion". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
  2. ^ "Plymouth Avenue Bridge reopens to foot traffic". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2011-07-16.
  3. ^ "Plymouth Ave Bridge over Mississippi River". Official Website of the City Of Minneapolis. City of Minneapolis, MN. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Plymouth Av. Bridge to reopen in October". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  • Costello, Mary Charlotte (2002). Climbing the Mississippi River Bridge by Bridge, Volume Two: Minnesota. Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications. ISBN 0-9644518-2-4.
  • "Bridges 2005: Lost Bridges". Minneapolis Riverfront District Bridges. 2005. Retrieved 2006-05-11.