City council approves pedestrian bridge construction

Dakota-Edgewood trail bridge to start construction this fall


Jenna Benbow

SLP citizens stroll down the bike path located next to Dakota Park. The new trail bridge over Dakota Ave. will be located here.

Jack Kroells

Biking from the Eliot neighborhood to the high school has become more accessible with the approval of a new pedestrian bridge.

The newest addition to St. Louis Park’s Connect the Park program is the Dakota-Edgewood bridge running over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, right behind Peter Hobart elementary school. This $10.26 million project, passed Sept. 8, intends to allow for easier movement around the city. Mayor Jake Spano said believes this is a necessary addition to St. Louis Park.

“There’s this train track that splits our city north and south. The staff identified that crossing those tracks would be an issue,” Spano said. “We are trying to make it so bikers and walkers don’t have to cross the street and railroad tracks to get from point A to point B.”

The bridge will follow the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 by ensuring people in wheelchairs can access and use it.

“It will wind back and forth, go over the tracks, and wind back and forth back down,” Spano describes. “The best way to describe it is you take a paperclip and open it up so you’ve got a sharp end and a twisted end.”

Connect the Park is a ten-year plan passed back in 2013 to build and renovate a series of bikeways, bike trails and sidewalks. Its purpose is to encourage people to find new ways to get around other than cars.

Senior Zoe Frank is an active participant in environmental discussions in Park. She said having more opportunities to ditch the car and bike is better for the community.

“Bridges are awesome because it allows people to move more freely by foot and it takes the pressure off of having to drive everywhere,” Frank said. “Having an option and by having an alternative, hopefully, it’ll inspire people to walk or bike or get places without being in a car.”

Construction on the Dakota-Edgewood bridge started shortly after the approval of the design and the plan Sept. 8.

“Construction would start this month, September of this year, and be completed November (of) next year,” Spano said. “There will be some set-up and tree removal this fall, but the majority of the work will begin next year in March.”

The city of St. Louis Park will receive a $2.93 million federal grant to build the Dakota-Edgewood bridge, bringing the price St. Louis Park has to pay down to $7.34 million.

“Most of that will be going to the design and engineering process, along with the materials and land use rights,” Spano said.

Frank believes that the positive effects of building the bridge will greatly outweigh any negatives by allowing for more walking instead of driving.

“The biggest concern I can think of is if it (the Dakota-Edgewood bridge) is on people’s properties or if it brings more foot traffic to residential streets,” Frank said.