Bridge near stadium a go with Vikings support

A new bridge near the Vikings’ new stadium was approved with financial support from the team.

There isn’t a movie called Bridge of Dreams, but, thanks to Wednesday’s meeting of the Met Council, if you propose a stadium improvement to the Wilfs, they will come.

The Met Council approved a more far-reaching bridge project, up from the original plan of $6 million with the Met Council paying the freight for the entire project to a nearly $7 million project thanks to a ceilinged contribution of $3.5 million from the Wilfs to cover half the construction costs.

The design of the bridge changed from the initial $6 million plan for the connection of the Green and Blue light rail lines at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and South Fourth Street. The bridge will be wider than initially planned and will have two elevator banks instead of one from the initial design.

As outlined last week after word got out that the Vikings would contribute half the design cost, the Vikings will receive 50 percent of the advertising revenue on the platform, which is estimated to be approximately $200,000 a year. A new wrinkle to the proposal calls for the Met Council to receive $300,000 a year from the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority in exchange for station naming nights, which will likely go to U.S. Bank, the company that purchased stadium naming rights. A similar agreement was reached with Target for the light rail station near Target Field.

The plan wasn’t without controversy. Met Council members Gail Dorman and Jennifer Munt voted against the proposal because they felt the Vikings should have paid the entire cost of the bridge despite the fact that the pedestrian bridge is a safety issue for those attending events at U.S. Bank Stadium, whether it is a Vikings game or one of the hundreds of other events anticipated to take place annually in the new stadium.

Construction is expected to begin in the next month so as to get it completed this year as part of the construction around the stadium site.

The pedestrian bridge is just another example of the Vikings’ refusal to cut corners on the project and putting their own money where their mouth is in order to get the project done and make it as state-of-the-art as possible.

A couple of weeks ago, the Bridge of Dreams appeared to be on life support, as the Met Council debated whether or not to construct the $6 million bridge at all. With the infusion of Wilf money into the project, not only will it be going forward, it will be improved from the initial plan – yet another sign that the new stadium and surrounding areas will have as many amenities as possible to improve the fan experience for Vikings games as well as other events that will take place in the stadium.

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