6 votes

Long Meadow Bridge


Photo taken by Bill Forbes in May 2007, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


View this photo on Flickr

BH Photo #203225


Street Views 


Through truss bridge over Long Meadow Lake on a pedestrian walkway in Bloomington
Bloomington, Hennepin County, Minnesota
Open to pedestrians only
Built 1920; bypassed by new bridge in 1980; closed to vehicular traffic in 1992 and to pedestrians in 2002; Rehabilitate 2014-2016
- Edward Kraemer & Sons, Inc. of Plain, Wisconsin (Rehabilitation)
- Illinois Steel Bridge Co. of Jacksonville, Illinois
5-span Parker through truss
Length of largest span: 170.0 ft.
Total length: 864.5 ft.
Deck width: 21.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 28, 2013
Also called
Old Cedar Avenue Bridge
77 Walking Trail Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.83000, -93.24000   (decimal degrees)
44°49'48" N, 93°14'24" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/481028/4964093 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Saint Paul SW
Inventory numbers
MN 3145 (Minnesota bridge number)
NRHP 13000324 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 20408 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 12, 2020: New Street View added by Geoff Hubbs
  • April 22, 2018: Updated by Luke: Added rehabilitator
  • June 18, 2017: New photos from Matt Lohry
  • October 19, 2016: Updated by Luke: Updated status per forum comment
  • July 14, 2015: New Street View added by Luke
  • June 11, 2015: New photos from John Marvig
  • November 25, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
  • November 19, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added builder
  • October 19, 2013: New photos from Jann Mayer
  • September 16, 2013: Updated by Jason Smith: Bridge to be rehabilitated in 2014 and reopened by the end of 2015
  • August 10, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • March 3, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Long Meadow Lake"
  • September 27, 2011: New photos from Jason Smith
  • July 4, 2011: New photos from Nathan Holth
  • December 8, 2010: Updated by Matthew Lohry: Updated status: This historic bridge has been completely closed since 2002.

Related Bridges 



Long Meadow Bridge
Posted December 7, 2020, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Just to clarify for anyone reading the comments below, pneumatic and portable hydraulic field riveting IS allowed in some states (such as Michigan, but maybe not Minnesota?). New field driven rivets provide the same or better quality as existing field driven rivets in a bridge.

More information here: https://bachsteel.com/bridge-reuse-restoration/bridge-reuse-...

Overall, this project is a success story and I don't think anyone with an appreciation for historic bridges has any substantial negative opinions of the outcome here.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted December 6, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Considering how close it came to being scrapped...

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted December 6, 2020, by Brian J. Patterson (pattersonbj [at] earthlink [dot] net)

Just a comment on the use of Constant-Tension (CT) Bolts (not carriage bolts!) instead of field rivets on this restoration.

IIRC, there was at least one section of the lower truss structure on one span that WAS riveted instead of using CT Bolts. That was because the _entire_ section had to be replicated from scratch in a "factory" setting rather than being re-conditioned more or less on-site. And it was re-installed with CT Bolts.

For bridge construction or re-construction _today,_ "field" riveting is _not_ allowed, due to the less consistent or reliable fastening provided by "field" rivets (rivets heated and hand-hammered on site) when compared to CT Bolts. Rivets that are hydraulically driven in a "factory" setting _are_ allowed, but aren't typically seen because they do have to be driven in a "factory" setting instead of on-site and in-place.

The contractors made every reasonable effort to ensure that the "head" end of the CT Bolts was more visible than the nut end wherever possible to minimize the more "modern" appearance that CT Bolts provide. While "success" wasn't always possible in that regard, the bridge _was_ restored to use and looks quite similar to how it did when it was first built.

If one wanted to lambaste the "restoration team," you could more easily criticize the reduction in the number of deck stringers as well as not applying an asphalt wear layer on the bridge. However, both of these more obvious "shortcuts" was undertaken to reduce the dead weight of the bridge, as well as reduce the total cost of the restoration project.

The "common" stringer girder sizes of 1920 would today be custom-made and much more expensive. This fact, combined with the need to reduce both the dead weight of the bridge and the cost of the restoration compelled the restoration team to use a lesser number of "modern" standard-sized girders instead of the correct number and dimension of girders as installed in 1920. The use of modern higher-strength "lightweight" concrete for the reinforced-concrete deck allowed them to do this.

The asphalt wear layer was omitted because the bridge just won't see that much traffic. While the restored bridge could easily carry 90% of its design weight and traffic rating, there just isn't anywhere for that kind of traffic to _go._ The next bridge beyond the Long Meadow Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist only attachment to the Cedar Avenue Bridge. So, with no likelihood of the traffic volume that would require a wear layer, the need to reduce the dead weight of the bridge, and the need to keep costs down, the unneeded wear layer was omitted.

We could also _realistically_ criticize the restoration team for restoring the Long Meadow Bridge at its original as-built elevation. The Long Meadow Bridge was failing due in no small part to being too low relative to the seasonal high-water levels of Long Meadow Lake and the Minnesota River. Thus, almost every spring, the Minnesota River and Long Meadow Lake submerged the trusses below deck level along with the bridge bearings, and also frequently over-topped the deck itself.

With only minor additional difficulty, the restoration team _could_ have restored the entire bridge three feet higher, since they were obliged to replace both abutments and all of the piers. They could have also done this in such a manner as to be less obvious to the casual visitor or viewer that the bridge had been raised. This would have kept the below-deck steel out of the water more consistently, prolonging the overall life of the bridge.

On the bright side, we are able to debate the "authenticity" of the Long Meadow Bridge restoration with the bridge itself still in place, and likely to remain so after all of us are gone. You just can't say that about every historically significant bridge that is allowed to deteriorate unto extreme distress as the Long Meadow Bridge had.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted June 20, 2017, by Matt Lohry

I agree with Nathan's comment; however, considering the razor-thin escape from the wrecking ball that this bridge pulled off, I'm sure happy to see carriage bolts on this historic bridge over a new, ugly, MOB, which was the plan until only a couple of years ago!

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted June 19, 2017, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Overall this is both a good and amazing outcome for a bridge of this size. The use of bolts is a disappointment being as it is something that multiple organizations reached out to them in favor of. They could have done the rivets if they had wanted to.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted June 18, 2017, by Matt Lohry

I went out with my family today and took photos of the newly restored bridge. Overall good restoration; most of the rivets along the bottom chords of the bridge have been replaced with bolts and the bearings have been replaced. Other than that, mainly blast and paint, and new concrete deck.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted February 4, 2017, by Jacob Lennington (simpspin [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Some photos of the Rehabilitation.

Long Meadow Bridge-no longer "Wooden deck."
Posted November 5, 2016, by Brian J. Patterson (pattersonbj [at] earthlink [dot] net)

As part of the Long Meadow Bridge, the previous and NOT original wooden deck was replaced with a "lightweight" reinforced concrete deck with no wear layer. The ORIGINAL deck was 1920 era reinforced concrete with an asphalt wear layer. The original deck was failing and replaced with the wooden deck some time in the late 1940s to early 1950s.

The contractors used modern "lightweight" reinforced concrete without a wear layer to provide long life, reduce the dead weight of the bridge, and retain most of the design capacity of the bridge. They also used that material because the ORIGINAL deck was reinforce concrete, and not wood. Since this was a NRHP Bridge Restoration, they also used pine boards for forms rather than modern steel forms to get the "board texture" that would have been present on the curbing of the original deck.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted October 19, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Great to see... Especially for one that once appeared to be a goner!

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted October 19, 2016, by Matt Lohry

Outstanding!! After a 14-year wait, it will be nice to have public access to this bridge once again! The pipe-and-cable railings appear to be similar to those used on the Gateway Trail Bridge over Manning Avenue in Washington County--minimal visual intrusion to the truss portions of the bridge should allow for easy viewing. I will be sure to make it a point to visit once I'm in the area again.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted October 19, 2016, by Brian J. Patterson (pattersonbj [at] earthlink [dot] net)

The Long Meadow Bridge restoration is complete. The bridge is now open to pedestrian and bicyclist traffic. The bridge is scheduled to close during the Spring of 2017 to allow unhindered access to lightweight paving equipment, which will be paving the path between the south end of the Long Meadow Bridge and the north end of the pedestrian/bicyclist portion of the Cedar Avenue Bridge. This low-resolution picture is courtesy of the City of Bloomington, MN.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted July 14, 2015, by Jake Lennington (simpspin [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Rehab is commencing. The lot near the bridge was closed and this was near as I could get to take this pic.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted July 17, 2014, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Plans should be finished and the bid letting commence on this bridge in early 2015 from my talks with the city engineer who has had this project on his desk for over 2o years. The span provides a missing link to the extensive trail system and will be a welcome addition when it is back in service. Kudos to Bloomington, State of Minnesota and the legislature for figuring out how to finance this restoration.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted July 17, 2014, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


As you point out, most of the deterioration is at the deck level of this bridge or below. However, because it is a through truss, most of the historically significant and load-bearing superstructure is above the deck. Yes, substantial repairs to the flooring system and bottom chord will indeed be needed. However the majority of the trusses above the deck remain in good condition.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted July 16, 2014, by Jake (simpspin [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Uh, I'm stumped at how this bridge can be rehab'd without essentially rebuilding it from the ground up. Most of the deck and lower framwork are rusted so badly you can see daylight through a lot of the beams and the expansion feet are pressed back to the point they're cracking the concrete abutments. It's like the bridge is on the verge of collapsing under its own weight.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted March 15, 2014, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)


I've been wanting to know who got the design / administration for this bridge. I got out to see it the last time I was in Minneapolis.

We'll be there a lot in the next month.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted January 11, 2014, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

An RFP for the Old Cedar Avenue Bridge has been issued by the City of Bloomington for Design and Construction Administration Services. If there is someone that can take this project on at the design level stage, if there is an engineer out there that would like to work with us on this project I will forward the RFP and move forward to build the team. Standard certs for Minnesota required.

The proposal is due by end of January.

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted September 16, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Congrats to the City of Bloomington, MN on voting for restoring the bridge. Thanks to you, the bridge will be restored and reopened to traffic by 2015! http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2013/09/16/long-meadow...

Long Meadow Bridge
Posted June 28, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Hats off to the state of MN and City of Bloomington on deciding for restoring the Cedar Ave. Bridge. History and other info can be found here: http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2013/06/28/long-meadow...

Long Meadow Creek Bridge
Posted August 11, 2011, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I never intended to own bridges in this lifetime, but it is looking like this one may come the Workin' Bridges way. The team of experts is ready.

Long Meadow Creek Bridge
Posted July 12, 2011, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The engineer sent me the inspection reports and this one is tough. They are meeting next week. Bloomington does not want to own this bridge, any precedent for a toll bike/pedestrian bridge to offset the costs.

It has a lot of section loss and rust, all spans need to be pulled to be restored.

Let's hear some ideas. Workin' Bridges would collaborate with another bridge company on this one to figure this huge project out.

Long Meadow Creek Bridge
Posted July 11, 2011, by Jake (simpspin [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Well something better done with this bridge in the next few years. Cracked abutments, rotting beams, and deck that's shot won't prevent this from falling into Long Meadow Lake anytime soon.

Long Meadow Creek Bridge
Posted July 8, 2011, by Anonymous

Julie there are some on Flickr

Long Meadow Creek Bridge
Posted July 8, 2011, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

When you break it down it is just 5 spans, each 170' long. We can do this. Will talk to Bloomington Engineer next week but the director of the refuge (federal funding) said that anything would be better than the project stopped because no one could get a handle on the escalating cost. He had already talked with the engineer and they were interested, potentially, in our view point. Workin' Bridges doesn't look at it with the extra 0's, so maybe we can collaborate with another bridge company to get this one done too. Especially in Minnesota, the education of restoration is so important, we could potentially reach a lot of people and train a whole new generation on the skills required to take care of the stuff they will inherit.

It is near a city where it can get a lot of great use. any other pictures out there?

Long Meadow Creek Bridge
Posted July 4, 2011, by Spanfan (susorcar [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This is the old Cedar Ave. bridge.

Long Meadow Creek Bridge
Posted July 4, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Typical MN behavior. A landmark historic bridge screaming for reuse and instead the only thing happening is the owner agency complaining about the bridge. http://www.startribune.com/local/west/124463509.html