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Mayor Coleman, Council President Lantry Announce Lane Restrictions on Kellogg Avenue-Third Street Bridge

SAINT PAUL – Mayor Chris Coleman and Council President Kathy Lantry today announced that they will request state and federal money to immediately pursue rebuilding the Kellogg Avenue-Third Street Bridge in downtown Saint Paul and that traffic on the bridge will be indefinitely restricted to the center lanes beginning Monday, September 29. The decision comes after city engineers informed the Mayor and Council President that a recent inspection and structural analysis by an independent consultant, in coordination with MnDOT engineers, determined the bridge’s outer lanes are not adequately designed to support current traffic.

“We are acting swiftly in the interest of public safety,” said Mayor Coleman. “Obviously, the news that the bridge’s outer lanes are structurally deficient is not something we can overlook, despite the fact that the bridge has functioned for more than 30 years and the obvious challenges this will pose to movement within the city. I have directed city engineers to work immediately with county, state and federal partners on short-term traffic flow alternatives until a new bridge can be built.”

The Kellogg Avenue-Third Street Bridge was designed and built by MnDOT in the early 1980s and was turned over to the city in December 1983. It spans nearly one-half mile and is comprised of a concrete deck and beams supported on cantilevered piers. Since acquisition of the bridge, the city has performed structural inspections that comply with state and federal standards. In recent years, the city has supplemented regular inspections with increased monitoring, specialized inspection and load capacity analysis after signs of stress on the piers were found during routine inspections.

During the preliminary design phase for a project aimed at repairing the existing piers, deeper analysis found that the outer lanes do not meet what is now required under federal code to support today’s traffic without further damage to the bridge.

“This is not going to be a minor inconvenience for people as we work through the immediate and long-term challenges of redirecting traffic within the city,” said Council President Lantry. “In terms of the financial impact, we are working in collaboration with our county, state and federal partners to identify funding sources to build a new bridge as soon as possible.”

Lane closure details

The city’s Department of Public Works is making preparations to reduce vehicle traffic to three lanes with a narrower path for pedestrians and cyclists to share. The bridge will be temporarily closed beginning Friday, September 26 at 9:00 a.m. to allow for previously planned construction work on Prince Street. Engineers plan to use this opportunity to prepare the bridge with new striping, signage and other traffic devices and will reopen on Monday, September 29 at 6:00 a.m, ahead of the morning commute. Signal timing will be monitored and adjusted as needed to optimize traffic flow.

“It’s important for residents to understand that using the bridge remains safe and that the lane restrictions are the only immediately-required response to the findings,” said City Engineer John Maczko. “That said, the Kellogg-Third Street Bridge is a critically important arterial street and there is not a sufficient long-term alternative route. We need to move quickly.”

State and federal partners

The Mayor and City Council are working with state and federal partners to identify funding options for a new bridge.

Representative Sheldon Johnson said, “With the Lowertown Ballpark set to open early next year, the small and mid-sized businesses booming throughout Lowertown and the East Side, as well as the neighborhoods served by this bridge, I will advocate for state support during the next legislative session.”

For more information, visit www.stpaul.gov/Kellogg-ThirdStreetBridge.

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