|Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography|
The I-35W Bridge In Safety Orange
A Look At The I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge
Lit Up In Safety Orange To Commemorate
Workers Memorial Day On April 27, 2012
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 erie blue glow that looks like something out of a science fiction movie.
However, the bridge is occassionaly lit up in other colors for special
On April 27, 2012, MN-DOT lit up the bridge in safety orange to commemorate
Workers Safety Day. This event is a memorial to highway workers who have
lost their lives while working on MN-DOT projects and highway maintenance.
Since 1960, 33 MN-DOT employees and 15 employees of contract firms have
been killed working on highways across the state, including two workers
this past summer who were struck by an inattentive driver only a few
blocks from my home on McAndrews Road in Burnsville.
Workers Safety Day is part of National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week,
a national campaign to alert motorists of the hazards faced by construction
workers. In 2012, the event was in its 13th year. As far as I know, this is
the second time that MN-DOT has lit up the I-35W bridge in safety orange,
with the previous event being on April 28, 2011.
The photo above is a view of the Saint Anthony Falls Bridge from the south
river bank standing on the bicycle trail right next to the south main bridge
pier of the nearby 10th Avenue Bridge. This view is looking northwest across
the Mississippi River towards the downstream face of the structure.
Note—these materials are covered by copyright and may not be
used without written permission.
This view is looking northwest towards the downstream east face of the
Saint Anthony Falls Bridge. The vantage point is on the south side of
the West River Parkway where the trail leading down from Northern Pacific
Bridge #9 crosses the parkway near the 10th Avenue Bridge.
This view is looking north across the Mississippi River along the upstream
west face of the bridge. The vantage point is a small clearing just off of
the sidewalk running along West River Parkway.
The photo above is looking north across the Mississippi River looking
though the main bridge piers. The vantage point is the sidewalk leading
down to the observation deck on the south side of the river. The observation
deck is the lighted area around the bridge piers.
This view is looking north across the Mississippi River towards the north
main bridge piers as seen from the observation deck on the south side of the
river. There is an observation deck under the north bridge piers, but it
is fenced off and not open to the public.
This photo is looking north across the river along the downstream south face
of the bridge from about half way up the bluffs on the south side of the
river. This is perhaps the least obstructed view of the bridge that is
This photo is similar to the photo above, but is taken from the top of the
bluffs. This puts the camera at about the same level as the traffic deck.
The trick to this vantage point is trying to get a photo with the bridge
railing lit up. Since this was taken around midnight, there simply wasn't
enough traffic in the far right northbound lanes to keep the guardrail lit
up, but I was able to catch one photo with a truck crossing the bridge.
That produced the two red streaks, the lower of which is interrupted by
the guardrail vertical support beams.
This photo is looking west from near the south end of the Northern Pacific
Bridge #9. The I-35W bridge is hidden behind the large concrete arches of
the 10th Avenue Bridge, but the reflections of the orange light from the
bridge add a dramatic look to the Mississippi River waters.
This is a telephoto view of the south main bridge piers as seen from near
the north end of Northern Pacific Bridge #9. In this scene, we see the
Lower Saint Anthony Falls Lock & Dam located just upstream from the
main bridge piers, as well as a great view of the Minneapolis skyline.
This is one of the LED light panels located at the base of one of the
south main bridge piers. These panels are installed in a drainage basin
at the base of the piers, and are pointed upwards to illuminate the piers
and the saddle structure at the top of the piers. In this view, the light
appears to be orange.
This photo is the same view as the photo directly above, but at a much
shorter exposure. This allows us to see the individual LED lamps in the
light panels. The panels are made up of red, blue, and green lamps, but
to make the orange, only the red and green lamps are turned on. In
comparing this photo to the haloween photos, it appears that it is the
same color of orange.
This photo is the base of two of the main bridge piers as seen from the
observation deck on the south side of the river.
This view is looking straight up towards the saddle structure at the top
of the main bridge piers. While it appears that the saddle helps support
the bridge spans, it is actually a purely decorative element. In fact,
you can see the access doors that provide access for crews to enter the
saddle and inspect the bearings at the top of the bridge piers.
This photo is looking south across the Mississippi River along the downstream
east face of the Saint Anthony Falls Bridge. The vantage point is standing
next to the north main bridge pier of the 10th Avenue Bridge. This location
is somewhat obstructed by the trees that grow along the river bluffs, but
we still get a good view of the main span and the south main bridge piers.
The green light in the distance is the Holiday Inn Metrodome.
This photo is looking south across the Mississippi River through the north
main bridge piers. The vantage point a University of Minnesota service
access road that runs under the bridge along the rim of the bluffs that
lead down to the river flats. The purple color on the two piers on the
left are due to a malfunction in the lighting controllers that has some of
the blue LED lamps locked on all the time. This has been broken for about
This view is the secondary span on the north side of the river, plus a
section of the main bridge span. The vantage point is the parking lot for
Metal-Matic. Metal-Matic, located just northwest of the I-35W Bridge, is
a world leader in welded steel tubing, such as found in boilers and heat
This view is looking downstream to the east towards the I-35W Saint Anthony
Falls Bridge. The vantage point is the parking lot at Mill Ruins Park on
the north side of the river in the river flats area. The structure located
in front of the bridge is the Lower Saint Anthony Falls Lock & Dam.
The yellow area just left of the north main bridge piers is another spot
where the lighting controller was malfunctioning.
These last two photos are views looking east from the deck of the Stone
Arch Bridge. The photo above is a wider view, while the photo below is
a closer view of the main river span. It was extremely windy that night
due to a storm that was moving in. The wind was blowing the camera around
even though I was using a sturdy tripod. I ended up going to a very high
ISO setting to get a very short exposure. That allowed me to get a relatively
clear photo, but the short exposure combined with the rough water meant that
there was no reflection of the bridge lights from the river.