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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography

Crossing The New I-35W Bridge

Crossing The I-35W Bridge — Northbound
September 18, 2008


I-35W Bridge Northbound, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
The busy Interstate I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed at the height of rush hour on Wednesday, August 1, 2007. The new I-35W bridge to replace the collapsed structure was completed and opened to traffic just over 13 months later at 5:00 AM on Thursday, September 18, 2008. These photos were taken about 1:30 PM in the afternoon of that historic day. They show a view of a typical bridge crossing heading northbound across the bridge, starting at the I-94/I-35W Commons and ending at University Avenue on the north side of the river.

Note—these materials are covered by copyright and may not be used without written permission.

The photo above was taken at the far east end of the I-94 and I-35W commons area south of downtown Minneapolis. After I-35W and I-94 part company, northbound I-35W makes another split. The two left lanes carry I-35W, while the two right lanes access 3rd Street, Washington Avenue, and a short segment of freeway that crosses the river into the University of Minnesota campus.

I-35W Bridge Northbound, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
The photo above is the start of the bridge project at Washington Avenue. The University Administration Building is on the left, and the Holiday Inn is on the right. The first section of the project replaced the pavement where the highway grade was lowered.

The photo below is the area where the pavement transitions from being at grade level to being on an embankment supported by retaining walls. The northbound bridge span is 5 lanes at this point. The left 3 lanes are for I-35W North, while the two right lanes are for 4th Street and University Avenue (which are parallel one-way streets).

I-35W Bridge Northbound, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Bridge Northbound, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
The wavy lines statute, metal guardrails, and street lights in the center of the road mark the start of the river crossing. The wavy lines are made of a new type of concrete that reacts with sunlight to remove pollution from the air. It is being tried as an experiment. If it works, it may be used on a larger scale to help reduce fog over bridges.

The photo below shows our approach to the top of the hump at the center of the main bridge span. Due to the width of the road and the location of the 10th Avenue Bridge, one cannot see the river while crossing to the north.

I-35W Bridge Northbound, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Bridge Northbound, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
The photo above is a view from the top of the hump in the main span. The set of wavy lines marks the end of the river crossing. We are still 5 lanes at this point, but we see that the lane marking to the right of the taxi cab uses very short lines, which signifies the line between the highway and the exit ramps.

The photo below shows where the right two lanes depart from the highway, and break out into 4 lanes at the stop lights at the top of the ramp.

I-35W Bridge Northbound, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Bridge Northbound, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
The photo above shows that we are back on solid ground. Here, we are crossing under the University Avenue overpass. The 4th Street Bridge is just up the highway.

The photo below is a view passing under the 4th Street overpass. This is the end of the bridge project and the transition back to the original pavement prior to the bridge collapse.

I-35W Bridge Northbound, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

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