Victoria’s Lifeline  -  Hwy 5 Bridge

It was back in June that I started taking pictures of the old  Hwy 5 bridge, knowing that it would soon disappear from the Victoria landscape. 

Many of the stories involved smoking cigarettes.  The Black Bridge on Stieger Lake Lane was replaced in August of 2002.  Precisely ten years later, the White Bridge on Hwy 5 is now replaced.

Gazette:  Why is it being replaced?

MnDOT:  The bridge was badly deteriorated and there was concrete spalling.

I thought about Mike Wartman’s stories in the Gazette over these past years and the escapades of Victoria youth under the two Victoria bridges — “the old Black Bridge and the new White Bridge,” as Mike called them.

I kept taking pictures as the Hwy 5 bridge was demolished this summer and I recognized that we were detoured to the ten-year-old bridge in downtown Victoria in order to navigate in an east-west direction.

If that 2002 bridge project hadn’t occurred, this 2012 bridge project would have been a nightmare, not just an inconvenience.

That 2002 bridge project became a lifesaver for Victoria residents and businesses today.  Thank you, Mayor Mary Meuwissen (1996-2002).

The stretch of road known as Stieger Lake Lane through the “backyard” of downtown Victoria was upgraded and paved in 2011 in anticipation of the heavy detour traffic in 2012.

Not only did Stieger Lake Lane manage the detour traffic, it revealed a community that cares about its friends, its image, and its streets.  Thank you, Mayor Mary Thun.

This White Bridge, Victoria’s second bridge, had been constructed in 1952 and was in need of replacement after six decades of wear and tear, showing  deterioration and spalling due to corrosion, weather, and old age.

The new 2012 Bridge is also made of concrete and will be 44 feet wide, which is not wide enough to accommodate four lanes of traffic.

Contractor on the new bridge was Minnowa, a subcontractor of S.M. Hentges.

Ken Slama, Project Manger with MnDOT, was very helpful in answering my questions about the bridge project, which occurred simultaneously with the Sink Hole Project just three blocks east of here.

Downtown Victoria was in middle of the Bridge Project and the Sink Hole Project.

The grade was raised on Hwy 5 between the bridge and the Dairy Queen to accommodate clearance on the trail below the bridge, for a future light rail route planned by Hennepin County Regional Rail.

 Seven  I-beams were installed at the new bridge.

Approximately 90 pilings were driven 55 to 65 feet for bridge support.

Residents could hear the “CLINK!  CLINK!  CLINK!” pounding of the piles for quite a distance.

Each of the I-beams was 136 feet long.

Each of the I-beams weighed 54 tons.

A liner is placed in the concrete to give texture to the facia that we see on the railing and abutments.

Back in June 2012 the Gazette had asked Ken Slama, Project Manager with MnDOT,  “When will the new bridge be navigable?”  He replied, “Construction will be complete on August 30th, 2012, and open to traffic August 31st, 2012.”  That’s exactly how it came to be.  After three months of construction, traffic was flowing smoothly through Victoria on Friday afternoon, August 31st.  This picture was taken that very Friday afternoon! 

Mayor Mary Hershberger Thun, who ably and admirably led the community through the Summer of 2012, thanked everyone for their work and cooperation in helping Victoria successfully navigate the closures of Hwy 5, which is the lifeline of the City of Victoria.

Many of the people that Mayor Thun thanked were on hand for the Ribbon Cutting including Victoria city staff, councilmembers, city committees and groups, businesses, MnDOT, the mayors and leaders of area cities, county commissioners, state officials, engineers, and contractors.

The road leading from the west (near the DQ) to the bridge was paved first.

This work was occurring on the east side of the bridge on Wednesday, August 29th, as the Ribbon Cutting ceremony was about to occur that afternoon. It was sunny and 96 degrees.

Autumn coolness and uninterrupted highway 5 travel was just around the corner.  The end of heat and detours was near — only a day or two — so there was more celebration in the air than humidity.

The End