RED WING-- The new pedestrian bridge connecting the West End District to Bay Point Park and the upper harbor is open to walkers and cyclists.
City Engineer Jay Owens worked on the bridge, now officially named the Red Wing Riverview Skyway. He told the Republican Eagle after the skyway opened, “The bridge is a really important step in starting a renewal of the whole Upper Harbor area. The project involved some complicated design issues and challenging work with the railroad, but everything came together, and the staff worked hard as a team to get the funding. Now we’re grateful that two important areas of Red Wing are connected, and we’re excited to see lots of people using the skyway.”
A brief history of the pedestrian bridge
The bridge for cyclists and pedestrians has been discussed and debated by the City Council and residents for many years. In a July report to the council, Owens listed some of the previous actions taken on the bridge.
March 2015: The council adopted the Renewing Old West Main Street Master Plan. One of the major elements of the plan was to provide bike and pedestrian friendly connections between the Upper Harbor, Bay Point Park, the West End District and surrounding neighborhoods.
October 2017: The council approved a preliminary design.
August to October 2018: An online survey about the Old West Main Street Renewal project resulted in 652 respondents. The third highest priority chosen by respondents was creating a better connection between Old West Main Street and the riverfront.
July 2019: A second online survey yielded 110 respondents. Of this number, 43 people supported the bridge, 63 people opposed it and four were unsure. Of those who opposed, the largest reason was the expense. Of those who supported the project, the largest reason was the bridge would make the area a more vibrant destination for residents and visitors.
November 2019: The council approved a purchase agreement with Kelly Anderson for the property between Kelly's Bar and Bayside for the bridge’s south landing.
June 2020: The final bridge plans were submitted to the Minnesota Department of Transportation for review.
July 2020: The Minnesota Department of Transportation approved the bridge plans.
Jan. 11, 2021: The City Council approved a contract with Bolton & Menk Inc. for construction engineering services for the pedestrian bridge.
One of the most common questions and concerns about the pedestrian bridge project was the cost. A costs and funding table was included in Owens’ July 2021 report.
Construction total: $1,699,046
Design engineering: $264,019
Construction engineering $240,924
Land acquisition: $110,000
Permits and miscellaneous costs: $40,000
Total price: $2,353,989
Federal Highway — Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program: $857,218
Additional Federal Highway — MnDOT Transportation Alternatives Program: $340,000
Current city general funds capital improvement plan, 2017—2020: $507,230
DNR Local Trail Connections: $150,000
Additional Federal Highway — MnDOT: $85,661
WINGS Foundation: $45,000
Riverland Foundation: $50,000
Surplus capital project funding: $318,880
Total funding: $2,353,989