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Tracks, Bricks Will Be Nods To North Loop’s Past

How old were the North Loop streets before the massive summer overhaul began? Let’s put it this way: crews have been finding horseshoes beneath the surface. Several of them.

When the dust finally settles in a few weeks, we’ll not only have smooth new roads, sidewalks and curbs. We’ll also see the return of century-old features like brick pavers and train tracks that added to the charm and identity of this historic district. 

Already crossing 5th, 7th, 8th and 9th Avenues, you can see sections of salvaged rail line that crews just embedded in new pavement. They mark the area where trains used to roll between Washington Avenue and 3rd Street, pulling up to the warehouses and factories that lined both streets when the North Loop was a major warehousing and distribution center.

In the meantime, about 550 pallets of brick pavers are sitting in a storage yard nearby, ready to go back onto sections of 3rd Street, 8th Avenue and 9th Avenue—the same bricks that were laid down in 1918 and 1919. Except this time, they won’t be placed straight onto the bare ground. They’ll be placed on layers of asphalt, framed by concrete edges that will help hold them in place.

Stephanie Malmberg, Construction Engineer for the city of Minneapolis said the project is on schedule and they’re still hoping to have it substantially complete by November 1st.  Crew should start placing the brick pavers in mid-October. 

The one thing that they were not able to salvage in this project: the wood pavers on 8th Avenue. After so many decades of use and exposure to moisture, they disintegrated when crews started digging up the road. Instead, 8th Avenue will get brick pavers and curbs made of granite stone salvaged from the North Loop (photos below).

Crews also hope to install new trees and sod in the affected areas before the first snow arrives.

By Mike Binkley, North Loop Neighborhood Association

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