Footbridge over U.S. 14 could open in 2010
By Matt Russell
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
Construction of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across U.S. 14 could start in August, connecting the Cascade Lake recreation area, which is still being developed, with Seventh Street Northwest.
The $3 million bridge project is the first step in connecting Cascade Lake, still at least three or four years away from opening, with the 12.5-mile Douglas Trail that connects Rochester and Pine Island.
The Rochester City Council approved a construction contract for the U.S. 14 project Monday, choosing low-bidder Ed Kraemer & Sons to do the work.
The bridge will connect a trail on the north side of Cascade Lake with the south side of Seventh Street Northwest near its intersection with Valleyhigh Drive. It could open in July 2010, according to Doug Nelson of the Rochester Public Works Department.
The alignment of the bridge over U.S. 14 was shaped by various height restrictions required in relation to U.S. 14, power lines in the area, and train tracks, as well, Nelson said. He added that seven different crossing alignments were considered.
"This is the only option to go across — over and under all the constraints that you have," Public Works Director Richard Freese said.
Details are being finalized for rest of the Cascade Lake/Douglas Trail connection project, with city officials hoping to come to an agreement with property owners in the area over the next 30 days.
Phase two of the city’s plan calls for building a bridge over Seventh Street Northwest in 2010, then continuing the trail connection northward along Valleyhigh Drive. In the third and final phase, a bridge could be built over Valleyhigh Drive in 2012 to provide a final link to the Douglas Trail.
The city will use $800,000 in federal funding to help pay for the $3 million bridge project over U.S. 14. Phase two is estimated to cost $1.5 million, with $800,000 in federal funding available. Phase three is also estimated to cost $1.5 million, with $700,000 to $800,000 in federal funding available.
Land acquisition costs for the trail project could be $1 million to $3 million, Freese said.
The bridge that will be erected over U.S. 14 was also used as a temporary bridge in the recent U.S. 52 expansion project, and has a design similar to other bridges on U.S. 52.