By the 1980s, the old Lake Street bridge was overwhelmed with traffic. A new 4 lane structure was needed. Construction on the new bridge started in 1989. The project started by building a new 2 lane bridge next to the old bridge. Traffic would then be moved to the new bridge. That allowed the old bridge to be removed. Once the old bridge was gone, the remaining two lanes of the new bridge could be completed. This would allow traffic to continue flowing throughout the construction project.
Disaster struck the bridge project on April 24, 1990, when the falsework for the arch collapsed after a major concrete pour. The new bridge ended up in the river, taking with it a construction crew. One worker was fatally injured. The accident probe concluded that the falsework was not properly engineered. A year later, it was time to remove the old bridge. Demolition experts set charges, pushed the button, and after a large boom and a cloud of dust, the old bridge was still standing. A second demolition with more powerful explosives finally brought the old bridge down a few weeks later.
The new Lake Street bridge is a magnificent structure. At 550 feet, it has the longest clear span of any bridge in Saint Paul. The long thin arches are very graceful, looking much like a bird of prey slowing gliding up the river just above the water level. The concrete work features many art deco details. The bridge deck has cut stone piers for the guardrails, retro style lighting, and wrought-iron railings. The bridge is just as functional as it is decorative. It features 4 lanes, plus it has sidewalks that are projected from traffic by inner guardrails.
The Lake Street Bridge connects Lake Street in Minneapolis to Marshall Avenue in Saint Paul. This was the only twin cities bridge to directly connect the two cities, and after the Intercity Bridge was built, it is one of only two Mississippi River bridges to connect the two Twin Cities. While this was once a key river crossing between the cities, that duty is now handled by I-94 and the Dartmouth Bridge. Despite I-94 being available, the Lake Street bridge still sees a large amount of traffic.
The photo at the top of the page was taken from the East River Parkway from a vantage point just south of the Lake Street Bridge. The photo below was taken from the park along the West River Parkway from a point just south of the bridge.