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The Loring Neighborhood in South Minneapolis exudes diversity and activity. Stately 100-year-old homes, brownstone apartments and retail buildings stand just minutes from the City’s lakes, the downtown area and the Walker arts community. The 275-foot-long Loring Bikeway Bridge, designed specifically for commuters heading into Downtown Minneapolis through this neighborhood, completes the Loring Bikeway Commuter Corridor and brings commuters safely across busy Lyndale Avenue just south of the Lowry Tunnel, where they connect with other routes heading into Downtown.
The innovative structural design uses solid shaft piers and conventional pre-stressed concrete girders on a horizontal curvature that literally “shadows” the profile of the existing freeway interchange behind it. Sweeping lines and openings in the railing invite views of the Minneapolis skyline while blocking out adjacent freeway traffic. The decorative railing also protects bridge users from wind and debris kicked up from I-94 that runs just 10 feet from the bikeway.
Engineers and landscape architects collaborated to incorporate traditional materials and colors in a contemporary way. The red color and brick pattern mimic the traditional materials used in neighborhood buildings, but were combined in a way that expresses motion and activity.
“The neighborhood wanted to use aesthetic details to convey the idea of motion,” City of Minneapolis Project Manager Stephanie Malmberg, PE, said. “The neighborhood liked the idea of the one-sided view of the bridge that helped further the vision to have this bikeway serve as a gateway into the City. This project shows that you can harmoniously blend multi-modal means of transportation.”