A bridge replacement project for the French River Bridge will close parts of Highway 61/North Shore Drive starting June 1.  Officials with the St. Louis County Public Works Department are alerting drivers that they should anticipate the closure and be ready to utilize the posted detour.

The project involves removing the existing 99-year old French River Bridge.  Later, crews will construct a new bridge in its place - consisting of a concrete beam single-span structure; they'll also reconstruct 875 feet of approach roadway.  In addition, the project will also bring improvements to the adjacent wayside rest area including an ADA accessible overlook structure at lake level, increased parking, and a sidewalk crossing the new bridge for improved safety.

St. Louis County Public Works has structured the work on the project so that it will allow the road and new bridge to temporarily open for several days in September to accommodate the North Shore Inline Marathon.  Due to the cancellation of Grandma's Marathon, the removal of the existing bridge can be completed two weeks sooner than originally planned, which will help the already-tight schedule.

While the work is being performed, there will be a posted detour.  Traffic will be detoured along Ryan Road, Minnesota Highway 61, and Homestead Road.

Officials with St. Louis County expect that the bridge replacement project will be finished by November 13.  However, they will need to complete some other parts of the punch-list at a later date.  Additional work on the wayside rest area, landscaping, and final cleanup will take place in 2021 - although the roadway will be able to be open during completion of those final touches.

To get more details about the French River Bridge replacement, click here.

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