Project Location

West River Parkway
Between Fourth St. S & Franklin Ave. E
Minneapolis, MN 55454

Project Manager

Cliff Swenson
Phone: 612-230-6473

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Language Resources

Correo Electró


Current Phase: Construction
Construction: July 2015-September 2016

This project may require road closures.

What's New

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Project Milestones

July 2016

  • Install stone veneer on Wall 1. Finish grading, seeding.

June 2016

  • Drill Wall 1 shaft footings and pour. Repair parkway, trails and ornamental rail along river.

May 2016

  • Install stairwells and concrete flatwork between Walls 3, 4, and 5. Pour the concrete face of Wall 3, grade the slope and excavate soils between walls 2 and 3, install soil nails below wall 3, finish stormwater utilities, pour Wall 2.

April 2016

  • Shotcrete the slope face under the cap of Wall 3 and build concrete forms for Wall 3. Finish Wall 4 and 5 at the top of the slope. Drill shaft footings for Wall 2 at the base of the slope. 

February 15-March 15, 2016

July-September 2015

  • Construction and permanent repair of the slope

June 2015

  • Award bid and consultant contracts

May 19, 2015

  • Bids open

April-May, 2015

  • State Historic Preservation office and FEMA project review
  • Minneapolis Office of Civil Rights bid review
  • Online survey regarding the repair design of the slope and historic structures damaged during the mudslide

April 15, 2015

  • Board approves a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Fairview Health Services for the permanent repair of the slope

Project History

January 21, 2015

January 7, 2015

  • Board approves a purchase order over $50k to UMMC-Fairview for Slope Failure
  • Detail design and engineering
  • Historic review and approvals sought
  • Preparation of claims to FEMA

December 2014

  • Preferred option determined; prepare documents for construction and bidding

November 2014

  • Investigation completed. Engineering of options
  • Preparation and evaluation of design options. Emergency cover over the slope was removed on Monday 11/3. Slope was surveyed and overhanging concrete was removed. A stronger, more impermeable cover was installed 11/5 over the slope to protect it during the winter and spring. Investigation is complete and engineers will be determining permanent repair design options over the next few weeks

September-November 2014

  • Monitoring and investigation

October 22, 2014

  • Board approves a purchase order with Safety Signs up to an amount of $150,000 for the rental and maintenance of signs and barricades related to the slope failure along West River Parkway

August 21, 2014

  • Hennepin County qualifies for FEMA disaster relief

August 8, 2014

June 21, 2014

  • Clean up begins

June 20, 2014

June 19, 2014

  • Slope fails shortly before 7 pm

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On June 19, 2014, after historically heavy and sustained rains, a 100-foot wide portion of the Mississippi River's west bank failed, sending over 4,000 cubic yards of mud and debris over West River Parkway and into the river. The slide occurred over a three second period. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officially declared Disaster 4182 on July 21 and Hennepin County was added to the areas eligible to receive reimbursements for disaster-related expenses on August 21, 2014. 

After clean-up, the slope was covered by geotextile fabric and sandbags to minimize any further erosion. The slope remains unstable and susceptible to unpredictable slides. The heavily used parkway and adjacent trails will remain closed until construction is complete. Detours have been posted.

The 100 feet of elevation change, 1:1 slopes and weeping groundwater through poor soils made this a very challenging project. In addition, Fairview Hospital had several million dollars of infrastructure critical to its business sitting at the edge of the failed slope. Barr Engineering was hired in mid-August. Its initial tasks were to investigate the failure, protect all infrastructure from further slope failure and engineer temporary and permanent repairs. By early fall, it became apparent that the engineering and permanent repairs of the slope could not be completed by winter 2014-15 and that cold weather construction was inadvisable.  Bidding was set for spring 2015, with construction completion by Oct. 31, 2015.

In the meantime, FEMA geotechnical engineers assessed the damage and worked with state, regional and national authorities to reimburse the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and Fairview Hospital for losses and costs related to the disaster. The engineering costs to clean up, stabilize and repair the slope exceed $5 million. It was critical that all federal regulations were met – which included procurement, contractual, environmental and historical concerns – so that project costs would be reimbursed. The MPRB did not receive design approval from federal historic preservation regulators until April 2015.  

Veit & Company was awarded the construction contract in early June 2015 and began work in July. The first month was spent ordering materials and mobilizing. Access to the work area at the top of the slope was extremely difficult. The most challenging part of the project was drilling 87 micropiles at the top of the slope for Wall 3, and no other construction could proceed until Wall 3 was almost completed. Rainfall in August and September caused slope failures almost daily below the construction bench, which created safety hazards for workers and delayed the project by almost three months. The soil froze in mid-December and Veit worked through February to winterize the project and secure the site. Veit restarted work in early April 2016. The work will be complete by July 31, 2016.

West River Parkway and the adjacent trails between 4th Street South and 24th Street South will remain closed until Hennepin County reopens the Franklin Avenue Bridge in fall 2016.

Related Projects

Franklin Avenue Bridge Replacement

Park History

West River Parkway History [PDF]