61sign Old Concrete Off New Brighton Blvd in Minneapolis

Hidden in plain sight in NE Minneapolis is a short stretch of 1930's era concrete pavement constructed for what was then U.S. 8, the predecessor of I-35W. It is located along the west side of New Brighton Boulevard between Broadway and I-35W.

The surviving pavement was built in about 1934 (the date on the plans) by the Department of Highways as part of a new entrance highway to Minneapolis. It was built to 1930's construction standards, with four 10-foot driving lanes (vs today's 12' standard). However, the construction was only completed as far north as Stinson Boulevard. It wasn't until 1942 that the rest of the new highway was completed north to Saint Anthony Boulevard, where it connected with the existing highway out of town. When it was built, this highway was on the northeast edge of development in Minneapolis, passing through what was then a mostly empty industrial area.

The old highway remained in use all the way up to the construction of I-35W in the early 1970's. As part of the freeway's construction, New Brighton Boulevard was rebuilt into a divided highway, and realigned slightly to the east between 1970 and 1973. Only a very short section of the old pavement was retained for use as a service drive - the rest was obliterated, and the site of the old highway eventually became part of the east side of the Quarry Shopping Center parking lot.

Today, the pavement has fallen into disrepair, and is partially covered with gravel and dirt. It passes directly in front of a commercial truck dealership.

A general view of the surviving pavement, looking south towards downtown Minneapolis (the skyline is just visible). Modern New Brighton Boulevard can be seen on the left. Note how the pavement lines up with the current road on the horizon.

Another view of the concrete. Note the seams between the 20' panels. Just ahead is the site of a former at-grade rail crossing, removed during the early 1970's construction.

Looking north towards I-35W, with New Brighton Boulevard on the right. The old pavement's alignment continued through the freeway embankment to the left of the overpass, and then through the site of what is now the Target parking lot.

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