Mudslide to keep West River Parkway closed until next summer

Geofabric at hospital
A "geofabric" tarp covers the mudslide on West River Road.
MPR News/Jennifer Simonson

A popular Minneapolis road along the Mississippi River will remain closed until next summer following a June mudslide.

During heavy June rains a 100 foot section of the river's West Bank gorge below the Fairview-University Medical Center gave way, covering a stretch of West River Parkway. The road's a popular route for nearly 7,000 motorists and 1,000 cyclists every day.

On Wednesday the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is scheduled to vote on a $640,000 engineering study to design a permanent repair to the hillside. The contractor, Barr Engineering, says construction can't begin until next spring, likely won't be completed until August. That's disappointing to Minneapolis City Council member Cam Gordon, who represents the area.

"There's lots of people who use it to get to work, whether they're walking, biking or driving a car, but it's also a great recreational trail," he said. "I think there were high hopes when people saw how quickly they had machines down there clearing the road after the mudslide, they were hopeful they could start using it again."

Officials have estimated it will cost over $4 million to repair the slope. The federal government will cover 75 percent of those costs, after FEMA added Hennepin County to the State's Federal disaster declaration for this summer's flooding and severe storms. The Minnesota legislature set aside $3 million to cover storm damage.

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