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Bridge plans swing forward

Published (3/18/2010)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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The Rock Island Swing Bridge, built in 1895, was the last operating bridge of its kind with a design that had cars use the bottom deck, while trains used the top deck. It was closed in 1999 and ordered removed by the U.S. Coast Guard in 2001.

Owned by the City of Inver Grove Heights, plans to convert the bridge into a recreational pier can move forward thanks to a new law signed by the governor March 14, and effective the following day.

Efforts to save the bridge from the scrap heap began last year after a law was enacted to allow for a two-year moratorium on the bridge’s demise, giving planners time to raise funds for redevelopment of the area. The efforts took less than a year.

According to the city’s Web site, the plan includes refurbishing the existing spans, and constructing two new spans to connect the pier to shore. A nearby park is also planned. 

The law is sponsored by Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) and Senate President James Metzen (DFL-South St. Paul).

HF2485/ SF2253*/CH188

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