University of Minnesota closes pedestrian walkway

The car-free pedestrian and bicycle deck of the Washington Avenue Bridge. -- Photo: U of MN, Minneapolis

Members of the University Community:

On Friday, August 22, we were informed by officials with Hennepin
County than an engineering analysis of the Washington Avenue bridge's
pedestrian deck revealed some safety concerns on the outer portions of
the bridge. As a precaution, the county, in cooperation with the
University, is closing the upper deck's outdoor areas and all
pedestrians and bicyclists will be limited to a portion of the middle
section of the inside of the upper deck. The lower bridge deck will
remain open but is currently restricted to handle only legal weight
vehicles.

It goes without saying that this will pose a challenge for pedestrians
and bicycles using the bridge, particularly as we begin the 2008-09
school year. We are working closely with Hennepin County and traffic
safety officials to protect the safety of our community, ensure
adequate pedestrian and bicycle movement and restore the bridge to
full operation as soon as possible.

The University is grateful to the county for working so quickly to act
on this matter. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask for your
patience during this time.