Lowry Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Hennepin County Lowry Avenue (CSAH 153) Bridge is an important transportation corridor and neighborhood connection across the Mississippi River in north Minneapolis. Lowry Avenue is also designated as an NHS Connector Route, providing critical transportation access from rail yards east of the river to I-94 on the west.

SRF and TY Lin International (TYLI) were retained by Hennepin County to develop designs to replace an aging truss bridge, which was permanently closed in 2008. With SRF as the lead consultant, the team provided complete, start-to-finish services for this important river crossing.

The team began by working with Hennepin County and project stakeholders to select the new bridge type and length. Selection considered future area land use plans along with structural, financial, geometric, aesthetic and other factors. The evaluation process culminated in selection of the steel through arch in a basket handle configuration for the main river span, with post-tensioned concrete box girder side spans (Phase I). This is an efficient structure type that minimized the number of piers in the river; allowed for construction with minimum disruption to barge traffic; and provided the distinctive structure desired by the County, City and adjacent neighborhoods. Post-tensioned concrete box girders were also selected for the western approach spans (Phase II).

The SRF/TYLI team’s approach of having each firm design one phase of the structure optimized value for the County and allowed an aggressive project schedule. In addition to selecting the bridge type, the team:

  • Led an extensive public involvement program, including multiple meetings.
  • Prepared preliminary and final design plans for the bridge and approach roadways.
  • Performed complete environmental documentation which included a federal Project Memorandum (PM), state Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW), and Section 4(f) determinations.
  • Facilitated coordination with MnDOT Cultural Resources Unit and the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission.

SRF worked closely with Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to maximize stormwater treatment within the limited right of way. Stormwater treatment measures designed for the project include a proprietary hydrodynamic separator to be used during phases of the bridge construction, a wet detention pond, and an underground sand filter.

SRF’s development of a phased approach to the project was a key element to the project’s success. We worked closely with Hennepin County to tailor an approach that reopened the award-winning river crossing in October 2012 while respecting funding constraints.


  • American Council of Engineering Companies Engineering Excellence Honor Award (National Award), 2013
  • Roads & Bridges Top 10 Bridges List at #5, 2013
  • Federal Highway Administration Environmental Excellence Award: Wetlands, Watersheds and Water Quality Category, 2013
  • Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers Seven Wonders of Engineering Award, 2013
  • American Council of Engineering Companies – Minnesota Engineering Excellence People’s Choice Award, 2013
  • American Council of Engineering Companies – Minnesota Engineering Excellence Grand Award, 2013
  • American Public Works Association – Minnesota – 2013 Project of the Year
  • Finance & Commerce Top Projects of 2012
  • Minnesota Concrete Council Awards Program (Transportation) First Place, 2012

CLIENT: Hennepin County