Highway Bridge Construction Disrupts Neighboring Community


Credit to MNDOT

Lauren Lubenow and Megan Justesen

The summer-long nightmare of detours around the Highway 101 bridge comes to an end Mid-November.  

Jeffrey Dahl, city manager of Wayzata, said, “The first phase is over, so the on and off ramps for the most part are done. Some of them are even usable right now. The second phase which is primarily the bridge is still ongoing and that will go on up until the end of October.”

Project Manager Aaron Broten, said, “We took the deck off, we added a girdle line, so ten feet wide roughly, added two turn lanes, added wider sidewalks which really helps with the pedestrian flow and traffic flow to make it safer for everybody and then the longevity of the bridge.”

Though the process is long, it is worthwhile. According to Dahl, this construction and closure has been in the works for quite some time. Dahl said, “Generally bridges after around 50 or so years deteriorate over time, the weather and everything else, so it was in the capital improvements plan of the State of Minnesota to redeck the bridge to ensure that it is safe.”

Because the entire bridge is closed, commuters and other drivers have been looking for different alternate routes in order to avoid the bridge. One popular route to avoid the bridge has been driving through a Wayzata neighborhood on Queensland Lane North. 

Evie Hester, a resident of said Wayzata neighborhood, said, “The hardest part of the construction is navigating how to get home. It is always changing what is open and what is closed, and it takes longer, so you have to give yourself more time and there is more traffic.” 

Along with the traffic, the new shortcut has also brought an increase in speeders and careless drivers.

Wayzata resident Larry Hester said, “They put up a sign that says ‘Your detour is our neighborhood’, I like that. They have had the police out here and signage, but people just do not care.”

Dahl said, “We have seen an increase in traffic in some of our residential areas and neighborhoods. Some people are trying to take shortcuts but we have taken measures to make sure that they are not speeding. We stepped up police control and signs saying that this is local traffic only.”

Hester said, “Until this year I never thought there was a rush hour in Wayzata, and now all of this traffic has created a sense that you want to avoid rush hour.”

Broten said, “We are on time, we will be finished up here in the fall of 2019 with a little bit of grading work and erosion and troll work following after the bridge. We will be pouring the remainder of the deck and then we will move on to the sidewalks and the parapets and the rails, so it will finish up pretty fast here.”

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the bridge is set to open back up to the public in Mid-November. The bridge was first closed back in April. 

“Thank you for dealing with the inconvenience. At the end of the day, it will be a better product, pedestrians will have safer walking access to downtown Wayzata and north and traffic control will be better for pedestrians and vehicle traffic,” said Broten.