MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Four and a half years since closing, the new Lowry Bridge opened Saturday to a lot of excitement.
City and state leaders, along with hundreds of local residents, attended the celebration.
The bridge’s construction was quite an undertaking. On average, there were a 100 people working on it daily.
Minneapolis resident Joan Kvidera has been waiting a long time to cross it.
“It’s amazing. I think it’s beautiful! I’m glad it’s done, and we’re ready to use it,” Kvidera said.
The new eye-catching bridge is an important connector, linking north and northeast Minneapolis.
Kvidera watched this 1,600 foot bridge being built for several years, ever since the original Lowry Avenue Bridge was demolished. It was constructed 100 years ago.
After engineers found a problem with one of the piers, the historic bridge was closed, then eventually removed by implosion.
Workers used 111 million pounds of structural concrete to build the new bridge.
Mark Stenglein, CEO and president of the Downtown Council, is astounded by the new landmark.
“It’s magnificent! A beauty to look at!” Stenglein said. “If the old one stood for a 100 years, this one will be here for a 1,000 years.”
Each arch reaches 135 feet above the Mississippi River. 18 stay cables are attached to each side.
At the opening ceremony, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin (4th District) says the bridge’s importance spans entire communities.
“That’s what we’re celebrating here today: the vision for our community, the willingness to celebrate the river, celebrate this connection and celebrate the future of our community as we move forward,” McLaughlin said.
City leaders have visions for the area’s future. They see businesses being built and condos going-up on both sides of the river – a lot like how it looks now near the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown.
The new Lowry Bridge will also be featured by the city on promotional materials, marketing Minneapolis to outside organizations.
The bridge and its two approaches cost $104 million to construct. Hennepin County and the state picked up the majority of the tab, while the city paid nearly $3 million itself.