Historic hiking is enjoying a fine walk and recognizing the history of the place at the same time. A great experience! I was driving across the newish Cedar Avenue Bridge and saw the old bridge proudly standing to the west. Did you know (I didn’t) that you can bike or walk across the full Minnesota River from Eagan to Bloomington on the old Cedar Avenue Bridge? The walk is beautiful! The old bridge route parallels the current bridge. (Take Old Shakopee Road to Old Cedar Avenue south to the trailhead. MAP)
The original Old Cedar Avenue Bridge, also known as the Long Meadow Bridge, was first built in 1890 and rebuilt in 1920. It carried automobile traffic for about 100 years, into the 1990s. Back when the old structure was the main crossing (before 1979), heavy traffic delays would occur because of the bridge’s small size and the need to operate the swing segment to let boat traffic pass.
The bridge was closed to motor vehicles in 1993 and all traffic in 2002 because of rotting supporting structure. Cyclists and nature lovers pushed Bloomington to fix the bridge, which would occasionally flood in the spring. In 2008, $2 million in state funding was approved to reopen the bridge to bicyclists and pedestrians.
The bridge spans a narrow section of Long Meadow Lake in Bloomington and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. In 2013, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and the restored bridge opened to the public on October 14, 2016.
If you can, we recommend that you walk out on the old bridge and look to the east at the current Cedar Avenue Bridge. It really puts everything in perspective – literally and historically.
Even better, take a walk on the boardwalk off Long Meadow Trail to the platform in the middle of Long Meadow Lake, where you can see the five camel hump sections of the historic bridge in the distance.
John and Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results