Posted by Tom.
The Manning Ave crossing has been one of the more treacherous hazards on the Gateway Trail. You MUST be alert at the crossing since, with a 55 mph speed limit, traffic zips by in a flash. So it was a wonderful announcement a couple of years ago that the State of Minnesota would erect a bridge for the Gateway over Manning.
Not only would it be a bridge, but it is a historic bridge, 130 years old. It began its life in Sauk Centre, MN, was moved in 1937 to Silverdale, MN (somewhere south of International Falls) where it was recently replaced by a new structure. Since it was designated in 1998 as a historical structure, there was a desire to move the bridge once again to a suitable location.
On the Manning/Gateway site the preparations began over a year ago.
|Here is the bridge in Silverdale|
· Fencing went up to divert the Gateway Trail around the construction site.
· Huge mounds of earth were piled up on either side of Manning for the approaches.
· Earlier this year big concrete pilings went up to support the ends of the bridge. Here’s a Wikipedia link showing construction photos: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridge_No._5721
Then is sat – for months, and we speculated that the project had stalled due to funding issues related to the economy… Finally last month the steel showed up, neatly stacked in a big pile off to the side. Each piece of iron appeared brand new in a fresh coat of paint. Like an erector set, the pieces went together, and today the nearly completed bridge sits off to the side of the trail awaiting the final effort to lift it into place.
Here is the bridge partially assembled a couple of weeks ago on Manning Ave:
I have shifted my daily runs to this portion of the Gateway in order to watch the progress. It appears that the major tasks remaining are lifting the bridge in place, installing a bridge deck, and fencing along the sides. Realistically it is probably still several months until we will be jogging across, but it is fascinating to watch the progress in the meantime.
Here is a link to the Gateway Trail Association’s site with more construction photos: http://www.gatewaytrailmn.org/