The West River Parkway Slope Repair project is expected to be complete at the end of July 2016. However, the parkway and adjacent trails between Fourth Street South and 25th Street South will remain closed to all traffic until Hennepin County is finished with its work on the Franklin Avenue bridge deck, expected this fall.
The mudslide occurred on June 19, 2014, following a record-setting rainfall. Cleanup and temporary stabilization were complete within one week. 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.
The 100 feet of elevation change, 1:1 slopes and weeping groundwater through poor soils made the West River Parkway Slope Repair 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 2014 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 slope repair would not be completed by winter 2014-15, and that cold weather construction was inadvisable. Bidding was set for spring 2015 and construction was expected to be complete 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 costs related to the disaster, which exceed $5 million. It was critical that all federal regulations were met – which included procurement, contractual, environmental and historical requirements – 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. Accessing 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 2015 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 will remain closed between Fourth Street South and 25th Street South until Hennepin County reopens the Franklin Avenue Bridge in fall 2016.