Plank Road to close Oct. 5

Share this:
August 31, 2009 // UPDATED 9:43 am - September 3, 2009
By: Cristof Traudes
Cristof Traudes

The wood-beam stretch of West River Road behind the Mill City Museum will close to traffic Oct. 5, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board announced today.

Plank Road, as it’s commonly called, stretches from about Portland Avenue to the museum’s entrance. The Park Board had it constructed in 2003 as part of the Mill Ruins Park development to add an extra historic touch, but that move proved troublesome.

After an initial couple of years without problems, issues such as loose bolts and loud noises snowballed. Over the past five years, 13 accidents have been reported on Plank Road, an “unusually high” number for a city street, according to a parks staff report.

“The bolts just won’t hold,” said Corky Wiseman, River District Manager.

The Park Board on Aug. 19 approved closing the road, and parks staff was instructed to investigate alternative surfaces such as concrete. An early estimate put the cost of replacing Plank Road at about $435,000.

Commissioner Annie Young, who was on the board when Plank Road was approved, said this was a case of architecture falling victim to the need for efficiency. She said the board chose a short-term fix without taking into account a long-term reality.

“This is one of those mistakes where we have to bite it and eat it,” Young said.