It's not on the schedule right now.  But that doesn't mean that the Minnesota Department of Transportation doesn't think ahead.

In order to "jump start the MNDOT scoping process"  in case the availability of future funds allowed, the agency is eyeing a future bridge project on the 5th Avenue West Bridge over I-35".  That's why MNDOT is starting the public engagement process.

Ahead of any potential funding opportunities, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is bringing together users and stakeholders in the project area. That includes surveying and identifying commercial, residential, and community individuals who need to be at the table, providing early input and commentary.  Their work will help MNDOT gather initial viewpoints on the "functionality and shortcomings of the current structure". This will help guide the process towards identifying "several possible alternatives based on stakeholder, public input, and preliminary engineering and traffic modeling and analysis".

The bridge structure in question sees high traffic counts and provides a vital and necessary link between downtown Duluth and the DECC-area, passing over the I-35 corridor.

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
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Like we said, as of right now, MNDOT does not have an official timeline for a future 5th Avenue West Bridge project.  By performing the research and study work right now, the results might allow MNDOT to move the future project up in its construction program if additional funding becomes available.

While a timeline for the actual work hasn't been determined, MNDOT has identified a timeline for the study.  They'll work on research from now until June of 2022.  Part of that will involve an online virtual open house survey that's active through February 11, 2022.

MNDOT expects to spend $200,000 on the study, modeling, and analysis portion of this expected future road construction project.

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