Plank Road reopens

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November 22, 2010 // UPDATED 10:50 am - December 1, 2010
By: vanessa el-hakeem
vanessa el-hakeem
A year after structural issues forced its closure, the stretch of West River Parkway known as Plank Road is open again, minus its namesake wooden planks.  

In an effort to repair the busted street, the section from Portland Avenue to 11th Avenue has emerged with new concrete to deal with the safety, maintenance and noise issues that the road had previous to its restoration.

Built in 2003, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation board constructed the road as part of the Mill Ruins Park development. At the time, the commissioners that were on the board decided on the integration of the wooden beams with the road in order to coincide with the integrity of the roads historical surroundings.

But that decision did not have the actual operational use of the road in mind. The road closed in 2009 due to ongoing maintenance problems, safety issues and excessive noise. Some of the major issues with the street included shifting wood and popping bolts caused by traffic vibrations.

Prior to the road’s closure, the Park Board tried tightening and replacing the loose bolts and placing a metal strip down the center of the road to secure the planking, which would temporarily help quiet the noise. However, their efforts didn’t work because of the ongoing deterioration of the road, which eventually forced them to shut down the stretch and proceed with major repairs.

During the refurbishing, the problems were taken care of by replacing the planks with concrete. Sections above the four historic mill tailraces have been colored to distinguish their locations.