The Minnesota River crossing at Chaska consists of a mile long highway
causeway, a 500 foot long bridge on the north end, and this smaller
250 foot long bridge on the south end. For much of the length of the
causeway, the main river channel flows along the west side of the
roadway, which would be the left in the photo above.
These photos show the smaller backchannel river crossing. This was
once a narrow 2 lane bridge. Since MN-DOT has plans to make this
river crossing into a 4 lane roadway, the new 1998 bridge was built
as a 4 lane bridge. The main channel bridge has also been replaced
and built as a 4 lane bridge, so it is expected that MN-DOT will complete
the 4 lane project soon (perhaps by 2010).
The photos above and below show a typical river crossing headed northbound.
The photo above is approaching the backchannel bridge as we descend into the
river valley. The photo below shows the bridge just as we are approaching the
south end of the structure. Note that half of the bridge deck remains unused.
The photo above is a view of the west face of the backchannel bridge as seen
from a wildlife refuge parking located at an older bridge site along an
abandoned highway alignment. The bridge looks surprisingly long when
viewed from the side as compared to how short it looks when crossing the
structure at highway speeds. The photo below is a view looking to the north
across the deck of the backchannel bridge. The lack of cars on the bridge
is due to the road being closed for a rare autumn flood on the Minnesota
River in October, 2010.
The photo above is looking northbound along highway MN-41 from the southwest
corner of the bridge, while the photo below is looking northbound down the
center of the highway. Note that the highway is flooded just beyond the north
end of the bridge.
The photo above is looking northbound along highway MN-41 from the east side
of the highway. The bridge is built for a future expansion to four lanes,
but so far, the causeway has not been similarly widened to support additional
lanes. The photo below is looking west across the bridge deck from the
southeast corner of the structure.