MINNEAPOLIS -- A plan that started years ago to extend Van White Memorial Boulevard from the north to the south side in Minneapolis, is now under construction.
Supporters of the project claim interstates and rail lines have contributed to physical and cultural barriers between the two sections of the city.
"It's a huge deal," said Minneapolis city councilmember Don Samuels. "This is opening up America to its aspirational goals."
The project will take Van White Memorial Boulevard south of Glenwood Avenue to Dunwoody Boulevard under Interstate 394.
Half of the $21 million project is funded by federal highway dollars, the other half is split between Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis.
The extension will affect some businesses whose owners question why a new road needs to go through the area. Lyndale Avenue, just a few blocks away, already connects north to south Minneapolis.
While it's a simple question, the answer is a little more complex. "Visually, when one part of the community looks different from the other, you're slowing down the dream of one nation, one people," said Samuels.
Samuels said the bridge will not only be a neighborhood crossing for the communities, but will help to bridge the gap between economic, social and racial divides. Additionally, the new road and bridge will help to revitalize the area with a plan for additional businesses and homes.
The project is expected to be complete by the fall of 2013.
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