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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Milwaukee Road Bridge
Milwaukee Road Mississippi River Crossing
Hastings, MN

Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)

• Structure ID: N/A.
• Location: River Mile 813.7.
• River Elevation: 674 Feet.
• Railroad: Canadian Pacific Railroad.
• Daily Traffic Count: 28 Trains Per Day (Estimated).
• Bridge Type: Vertical Lift Bridge.
• Length: 1,755 Feet Overall, 324 Feet Longest Span.
• Width: Single Track.
• Navigation Channel Width: 307 Feet.
• Height Above Water: 22 Feet.
• Date Built: Opened 1981.
The first bridge at this location was built by the Milwaukee Road in 1871 as a swing bridge. It was designed by engineer James Warren, famous for the Warren style truss. The bridge was located at this spot to carry rail traffic that travels the west side of the Mississippi River back to the east side of the river to enter Saint Paul at Dayton's Bluff.

The Milwaukee Road replaced the century old swing bridge with a vertical lift bridge in 1981. What looks like an old beast of a bridge is actually a relatively modern machine. The rail line is now used by the Canadian Pacific Railroad. The Amtrak Empire Builder also crosses the Mississippi River here on its way between Minneapolis and Chicago, only to cross back to the east side in La Crosse.

The photo above was taken from just downstream of the bridge looking north and west. The Hastings High Bridge is just upstream from this location. Even though it has been many years since the Milwaukee Road operated trains, the Milwaukee Road logos are still proudly displayed on the top of each of lift towers.


Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
The above below shows the lift bridge in relation to the downtown riverfront in Hastings. The view is looking northeast from a vantage point on the south riverbank located just upstream of the bridge. The photo below is looking east from the park along the access road to Lock & Dam #2. The lift bridge is located downriver from the Hastings High Bridge.

Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
The photo above is a view looking through the bridge towards the east from a local city street in Hastings. The photo below is a view looking to the south as the tail end of a grain train crosses the bridge. This river crossing is heavily used. It is not uncommon for a second train to pull up and wait to cross while another train is crossing the bridge.

Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
The photo above is a view from the edge of the river just north of the bridge. Notice the huge metal counterweights hanging under the top of each tower. The photo below is a close view of the lift span. These very hefty structural members appear to have been built to last.

Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
These two photos are views from a crisp clear fall morning in late 2008. The photo above shows a small grain train heading northbound across the Mississippi River. The photo below is a wide angle view of the entire bridge structure.

Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
I visited the Milwaukee Road Bridge again on an early June morning in 2011. These two photos are views of the truss spans at the north end of the Mississippi River main channel. The photo above is looking northeast towards the shaded side of the bridge, while the photo below is looking northwest towards the sunny side of the structure.

Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
The photo above is looking north along the east face of the Milwaukee Road Bridge. The photo below is looking northwest towards the downstream face of the lift span. The Hastings High Bridge is located in the background.

Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
The photo below is a close view of the south main bridge pier. The lift span is to the right of the pier. The photo below is the bridge tender house located above the railroad deck at the center of the movable truss span.

Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)
The photo above is a detail view of the north main bridge pier. The photo below is the equipment room located at the top of the north bridge tower. The motors that move the bridge are located in this equipment room, and a similar room at the top of the south bridge tower.

Milwaukee Road Bridge (Hastings)

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