'Critical Link to Downtown' Reopens to Traffic

Press Release

DES MOINES, IOWA –Wednesday, September 2, 2020 – Getting from here to there in downtown Des Moines just got easier. City Engineer Steve Naber said after two years of work, the Locust Street Bridge over the Des Moines River has reopened for traffic.

“For more than 100 years, the Locust Street Bridge has been a critical link to downtown Des Moines,” Naber said. “While we still have some work to do this fall, we have been able to open two vehicular lanes of the bridge to vehicular traffic – and that’s welcome news for everyone.”

Replacement work on the bridge began in August 2018 and will be completed late this year when hundreds of metal side panels will be installed to create an aesthetic scalloped façade, which will closely resemble the Grand Avenue Bridge. The pedestrian railings will be equipped with LED lighting and the side panels will also be backlit with LED lighting.

When finished, Locust Street Bridge will have single traffic lanes in each direction, on-street parallel parking and 12-foot wide sidewalks.  The Locust Street Bridge was originally constructed in 1909 and significantly rebuilt in 1967.

High river levels in 2019 shut down work for more than five months, however, Naber said construction crews did ‘an amazing job’ of making up the lost time and getting the effort close to the original completion schedule.

“We want to thank all of our residents, visitors and businesses for their patience, we know that a construction project like this can have quite an impact on our normal routines,” Naber said.

Cost of the new bridge is roughly $10 million and is part of an $18.5 million, multi-year bridge improvement project that received $10.5 million in federal/state grant funds. In addition to the Locust Street Bridge, the project also included bridges on Court Avenue, Scott Avenue and the SW 1st Street Multi-Use Trail bridge behind Principal Park.  The Scott Avenue Bridge is currently closed and undergoing construction work.  Scott Avenue Bridge is on track to open to traffic late this year and will be finished next summer.

The next major bridge project downtown is the Walnut Street Bridge.  This bridge is planned for full replacement with construction anticipated to start in 2022.  The new Walnut Street Bridge will look very similar to that of Locust Street and Grand Avenue bridges.

Al Setka
Communications Manager, City Manager’s Office 
(515) 283-4057

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit DSM.cityFacebook and Twitter for more information.