Lyndale Bridge over I-494, looking south toward Bloomington - showing hazardous sidewalk conditions.It’s coming, I look forward to it with both hope and dread. The current bridge is not only pedestrian and bike unfriendly to say the least (I think the 1 foot sidewalks were only designed as a place for trash in the summer and plowed snow in the winter and never were intended for human feet) but it is waaay inadequate to handle the traffic on it now. Besides all that, the bridge is butt ugly, it is rundown and built with all the soulless charm and creativity of an Eisenhower/Johnson era highway project.The current design calls for a Penn Avenue style interchange. Not really a quaint covered bridge design that would go with the “small town” image that many in Richfield try to convey to the rest of the world. However, it will be a traffic mover which is what is need for the area.

Lyndale Bridge over I-494, looking north toward Richifield - showing hazardous sidewalk conditions.However, it is the bridge’s aesthetics that worry me the most. If anyone has gone over the Penn Avenue Bridge, it becomes quite obvious while it has the sidewalks that the Lyndale Bridge lacks it is large desolate span of concrete in an “Eisenhower/Johnson era” design. This is troubling because Lyndale is a major gateway into Richfield, and a bridge with all the flare of a Soviet five year plan project doesn’t speak well of Richfield. Sadly there has been a tread that Richfield has appeared to have missed completely by other communities, such as St. Louis Park, Woodbury, Minneapolis, St. Paul etc…. to sex up and humanize their bridges with decorative lighting, railings and formed concrete mimicking stone. This of course costs money which some frugal non-fussy Richfield residents are loathe to part with. Sadly, if the Penn Avenue bridge is setting the stage for the rest of the 494 expansion and redesign, it will keep it concrete river look and feel.My guess is that aesthetic design while not a requirement in civic projects, it makes the difference between swilling with pride in your pig pen or swelling with pride in your community.