Kern Bridge placement to cost over 3.8 million dollars

Placing the 1873 Kern Bridge on the Blue Earth River has a high price tag, but 80% of it is being funded by the Federal Government.
.(KEYC News Now)
Updated: Dec. 7, 2022 at 6:43 PM CST
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“With this link in place, it allows you to go from Minneopa State Park to the city of Faribault on a bike trail... 60 miles I’m guessing 50-60 miles of unbroken bike trails.” Michael Mccarty, Assistant City Engineer for Mankato said.

Mccarty said ‘We’re getting essentially roughly 200 feet of a bridge for no cost-- which if you were to have to buy that, it would probably add another 750 to a million dollars of cost to the project which would not make us eligible for the 80/20 split. It would make it a hundred percent locally funded project.’

That’s over four million dollars direct from city coffers. Using a historic bridge provides a huge discount, costing the city 900 thousand dollars, instead of 3.8 million.

In order to qualify for the 80/20 split, they need to adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s standards, as well as the Management Plan for Historic Bridges in Minnesota. part of that is keeping its original historical context.

Mccarty said ‘We want that look if you will if you kind of have the visual frame of the bridge to look like it did when it was originally installed or just prior to being salvaged’.

They also need to meet ADA standards, which didn’t exist back in 1873.

“Add modern safety requirements and amenities to something that you’re trying to make look historical and act historical. So you have railings and decking... these old timber planks that were haphazard and had pretty healthy gaps in them because you just had to drive your Model T or your wagon across there.’

Construction is set to begin on Kern Bridge connecting Sibley and Land of Memories park sometime in 2024.