St. Paul’s High Bridge reopens, to pedestrians’ and commuters’ acclaim

December 2, 2018

For 15 months, Tory Kielas-Jensen had to leave her West 7th neighborhood and take a circuitous route onto the highway to visit her mother, who lives just across the Smith Avenue High Bridge in St. Paul.

On Sunday, as the community commemorated the reopening of the High Bridge, the mother and daughter celebrated their reunion.

We had to drive [when it was closed] and I enjoy walking across, said Kielas-Jensen, before pausing to consider the weather. Well, maybe not today.

Dozens gathered Sunday afternoon on the south side of the High Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River, for a chilly ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate its reopening after more than a year of construction on the bridge deck.

After listening to music and a series of speakers, everyone was invited to try out the new bridge and then walk to a warm gathering at the nearby Capital View Cafe.

The High Bridge is an iconic symbol, for so long, said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. It was falling apart.

Zelle noted the new bridge, which has fewer lanes and sidewalks on both sides, is about more than just cars: Its about pedestrians, its about the experience of being on the bridge, he said.

The bridge, with its signature arches, is a key connection between downtown St. Paul and the citys West Side.

MnDOT officials noted that construction finished ahead of schedule. The bridge was officially opened to motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians on Nov. 21.

Road resurfacing on Hwy. 149 near the bridge will continue through next spring.

Erin Adler 612-673-1781

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