- Hwy 61 Mississippi River crossing in Hastings
- Began October 2010
- Two lanes of traffic switched to new bridge in 2013
- All four lanes open to traffic tentatively by the end of 2013, with construction completed spring 2014
- $120 million
- The existing Hastings Bridge will remain open during construction of the new bridge
About this project
Building the new Hastings Bridge
The new Hastings Bridge will be a 21st century landmark to be trusted and enjoyed by current and future generations. With a 100-year life span, the new bridge will enhance mobility and safety for both the community and the region, and become part of Hastings’ identity. After the Minnesota Legislature passed the 2008 Transportation Funding Package, MnDOT was able to accelerate delivering the project by almost five years.
In order to deliver this major project under an accelerated schedule, a competitive contracting process called “design-build best value” was utilized. Three design-build teams qualified to submit proposals and on June 30, 2010 the contract was awarded to the joint venture Lunda/Ames. You can learn more at MnDOT’s design-build website.
Keeping the Community Moving During Construction
As construction proceeds, there are key elements of the project that travelers, residents, businesses and visitors should know.
- The river crossing will remain open to two-way traffic during rush hours for the duration of the project
- Access to Historic Downtown Hastings and marinas will remain open
- No long-term disruptions to river navigation channel. Access to local marinas will be maintained.
- “Get-in-get-out” approach designed to shorten the amount of time any property is affected
- More parking will be provided downtown
Check out our frequently asked questions for more details.
Providing an enhanced experience for travelers and visitors
Following are some of the features of the new bridge that will be enjoyed by those living, working and traveling through the community.
- Four lanes of traffic (compared to two on existing bridge)
- 12-foot pedestrian/bike path
- Modern anti-icing system built into new bridge
- Open public plaza south of 2nd Street
- Public art display on south abutment wall
- Scenic overlook incorporated near Levee Park
- Additional parking beneath bridge
- New North Loop creates safer traffic flow on/off/around bridge, safe access to trails for southbound pedestrians/bikers and provides safe access to Hastings’ marinas – Hub’s Landing, Captain’s Bay and King’s Cove.
Structurally, this bridge is a highly redundant and robust structure with a 100-year life span. What makes it a landmark are the visual elements, including overall design, lighting, color, public art, railings and public areas near the bridge. Over the course of this project, a Visual Quality Team (VQT) will ensure the bridge’s design maintains compatibility and integrity between its natural surroundings and Historic Downtown Hastings. Download the most recent Visual Quality Presentation (PDF).
The VQT is led by nationally recognized architect Bradley Touchstone and consists of project staff, representatives from local, state and county government, as well as representatives from the local community. As the new bridge’s design details evolve, they will be highlighted in reports and presentations from the Visual Quality Team.
Some of the key design features include:
- Longest free-standing arch main span in North America
- Creates visual transparency
- Scale compatible with Historic Downtown Hastings
- Public art mural
- Pier design
- Railing design
- Final arch colors selected by VQT with input from the public and local community
- Functional and aesthetic lighting options
MnDOT sought public feedback throughout the project’s planning process and continues to seek feedback throughout the project. Project staff will be in the community at formal and informal events. To be notified of event times and locations, sign up for automatic email updates. Comments, concerns and general questions can also be e-mailed to HastingsBridge.DOT@state.mn.us, or called into the project hotline at 651-775-5244.
Why this project? Why now?
The existing Highway 61 Bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Hastings was built in 1950 to replace the historic spiral bridge. This two-lane bridge’s average daily traffic exceeds 30,000 vehicles. While the existing bridge is safe, it has become functionally obsolete. (The roadway is not wide enough and the clearance is not high enough for today’s traffic.) Also, a mandated annual safety inspection reduces traffic across the bridge to a single lane of flagger-controlled traffic for about seven days each year, further reducing its functionality.
The Hwy 61 Hastings Bridge replacement was originally planned to be “let,” or put out for bids, in 2015. In 2008 the Minnesota legislature passed transportation funding that enabled MnDOT to accelerate the project to begin in 2010.
For more information on the steps involved in taking a road construction project from concept to completion, go to http://www.dot.state.mn.us/roadconstruction/ittakestime/.
After funding was secured, MnDOT held open houses throughout the project’s planning process in an effort to seek public input on a preferred bridge alternative, and on how to deliver a world class project while minimizing any potential affect to local businesses and traffic. Between May 2008 and June 2009, six open houses were held.
Findings of fact and conclusions (PDFs)
Finding of Fact and Conclusions
Appendix A - Agency Comments and MnDOT Responses
Appendix B - Public Comments and MnDOT Responses
Appendix C - Graphic Figures
Appendices D-F - Additional Documentation
Appendix G - Final Section 4(f)
- Final Section 4(f) - Appendices 1-3
Complete Finding of Fact and Conclusion Document - 70 MB
Environmental Assessment (PDFs)
Environmental Assessment - 10.7MB
Appendix 1 Figures
Figures 3-7 - 16.2 MB
Figures 8-11 - 16.2 MB
Figures 12a-14b - 16.2 MB
Figures 15-19 - 16.2 MB
Figures 20a-23 - 16.2 MB
Figures 24-26 - 16.2 MB
Figures 27-29 - 16.2 MB
Figures 30-32 - 16.2 MB
Full Environmental Assessment - 79 MB