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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography

The I-35W Bridge In The Pink

A Look At The I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge
Lit Up In Pink To Raise Awareness For
Breast Cancer On October 14, 2011


I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
The new I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge features an innovative LED lighting system where each LED element is individually addressable, allowing any color in the spectrum to be displayed. On most nights, the bridge is bathed in a eerie blue glow that looks like something out of a science fiction movie. However, the bridge is occassionaly lit up in other colors for special occasions.

MN-DOT lit up the bridge in safety orange on April 28, 2011, for Workers Memorial Day. I was out of town that day, so I missed it. On June 25, 2011, the I-35W bridge was lit up in a rainbow pattern for the Twin Cities Pride Festival. The media reported the wrong dates for the bridge lights, and as a result, I missed that event. On the night of September 11, 2011, the bridge was lit up in a patriotic red, while, and blue pattern. That wasn't announced in advance, so I also missed that event. However, MN-DOT got the word out for the breast cancer awareness event, and it was widely reported in the newspaper and on TV news. These photos of the I-35W bridge glowing bright pink were taken on October 14, 2011, and due to the MN-DOT publicity, I was finally able to see the bridge lit up in some color other than blue.

The photo above is looking downstream towards the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge from the deck of the nearby Stone Arch Bridge. The Lower Saint Anthony Falls Lock & Dam is located in front of the bridge, with the boat lock being on the right side of the photo. This photo was taken with a long exposure to reveal the structures near the bridge and highlight the pink reflections.

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


I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
The photo above is the same view as above, but with a much shorter exposure time. It shows the true color of the pink light. The bottom of the piers are somewhat obscured by the lock and dam structure.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is the upstream side of the I-35W bridge. The vantage point is a small clearing along the sidewalk on the West River Parkway. This view is often much more obstructed by leaves, but a strong wind had blown most of the leaves off of the trees early in the fall colors season.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is the downstream side of the I-35W bridge. The vantage point is the south side of the West River Parkway about halfway between the I-35W bridge and the 10th Avenue Bridge.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This is another view of the downstream face of the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge. The vantage point is high on the bluffs near the 10th Avenue Bridge on the south side of the river. This location can be accessed from a small parking area on South 1st Street, or by climbing the embankment from West River Parkway.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This view is looking north across the Mississippi River from the observation deck located under the south end of the I-35W bridge. There is a similar observation deck on the north side of the river, but it is not yet open to the public as of 2011. There is a second set of piers behind the main bridge piers that is partially obscured by a large gravel pile that is part of a sewer line project just downstream of the bridge site. The light located at the far end of the bridge between the two bridge spans is the monument on the north end of the bridge. The river is about 430 feet wide at this location.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This is one of the light panels located at the base of a main bridge pier. The panels are made up of large LED lamps. They are arranged in a series with red, blue, and green lamps. A computerized controller can address each lamp individually, allowing for any color in the spectrum to be created. Panels at the base of the piers light up the piers, while panels along the edge of the bridge spans light up the sides of the structure.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This view is looking downstream to the east towards the bridge span over the West River Parkway. The red streak is tail lights from a passing vehicle. The blue lights of the bridge monument at the south end of the bridge is just barely visible at the right end of the bridge span.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is a close view of the main bridge span as seen from the Stone Arch Bridge. The I-35W bridge is about 2,500 feet to the east of the spot where I took this photo.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
This photo is a view from the south bank of the Mississippi River. The vantage point is along the access road that runs through Mill Ruins Park. There would normally be a fairly large reflection of the bridge on the water, but on this night, high winds created a very choppy water surface, which prevented seeing a reflection.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
These two photos are the exact same view taken with two different exposure times. The photo above is a shorter exposure that shows the true color of the pink light. The photo below has a much longer exposure, which allows one to see the details of the lock and dam located just upstream of the bridge. The vantage point is the access road leading to the upstream side of the Lower Saint Anthony Falls Lock & Dam. Note the city light reflecting off of the clouds. The photo at the top of this page was taken about an hour later after the clouds had moved out of the area, resulting in a totally different look to the night sky.
I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

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