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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography

I-35W Bridge Winter Views

A Look At The I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge
During The Extreme Cold Of January, 2009


I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN
The new I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge opened in September of 2008, and it quickly faced its first major test as heavy snowfall accumulated in November and December, followed by extremely cold temperatures in December and January. Despite air temperatures as low as 30 degrees below zero, and daily highs that were well into the negative range, the bridge performed its job without a hitch.

This series of photos shows the Saint Anthony Falls Bridge from on, around, and under this amazing structure. These views are from late in January, 2009, during the tail end of the arctic cold snap. The colder the temperature is, the clearer the sky becomes. The bright white bridge structure makes for a very dramatic scene when framed against these ice cold deep blue skies.

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

These two photos are views of the main river channel span as seen from about 2,200 feet upriver of the structure looking to the east. The photo above was taken from the Stone Arch Bridge, while the photo below was taken from the parking area at the Mill Ruins Park. The Lower Saint Anthony Falls Lock & Dam is in the foreground, while the 10th Avenue Bridge and the Northern Pacific Bridge #9 are visible in the background.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

The photo above is a view of the bridge span taken from the northeast corner of the structure. This location is between the I-35W Bridge and the 10th Avenue Bridge. This land will eventually be developed into park land, which should offer a great view of the bridge from the top of the river gorge.

The photo below is a view of the bridge span taken from the southwest corner of the bridge. The vantage point is the West River Parkway, which passes under many of the Mississippi River Bridges in Minneapolis. This angle gives a good view of the saddle structure at the top of the piers. This detail is purely for decoration as the pier supports the bridge from directly below, and there are no side to side forces.


I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

These two photos are views of the main river span taken from the East River Flats from a vantage point on the northwest side of the structure. The main span is 504 feet long. The river is about 450 feet wide, of which 390 feet are part of the 9 foot navigation channel. The deck of the bridge is 120 feet above the normal water level. The 1929 era 10th Avenue Bridge is seen in the background. It is interesting to compare the concrete construction techniques from the 20th and 21st century as they sit side by side.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

These two photos are views of the northern of the two main bridge piers. The photo above is looking west towards downtown, while the photo below is looking east towards the University of Minnesota campus. The fenced in area around the piers will be developed into a viewing platform once the weather turns warm.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

These two photos are views of the smaller secondary span piers located on the north side of the river. There is a small railroad yard located on top of the river bluff, making it impossible to build the north bridge abutment at the edge of the river gorge. This required an additional secondary span to be constructed. The retaining wall under the bridge is a historic structure. It once formed the abutment of the Minneapolis Western Railroad Bridge, which was built in 1893 and removed in 1952. The building just west of the bridge is the University of Minnesota Tandem Accelerator, a high-energy physics experiment that has been largely unused since 1978. The facility was most recently used to house a MRI machine that was being used to design shielding for pacemakers. The lab has been in limbo since the bridge disaster, and the University is considering demolishing the building.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

These two photos are views from directly under the Saint Anthony Falls Bridge looking to the north. This view clearly shows that the bridge consists of two parallel spans that are independent of each other. The span on the left is bridge #27409, while the span on the right is bridge #27410. The photo above is looking across the river, while the photo below was taken from the north side of the river. The sand pile is a storage area used by the US Army Corps of Engineers for material dredged from the river channel.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

The photo above is a view from directly under the bridge looking across the river to the south. The photo below is also looking across the river to the show, showing the support piers on the south side of the main river channel span. There is a viewing platform at the base of the piers. The West River Parkway and the entrance road to the Lower Saint Anthony Falls Lock & Dam run under the secondary span, plus there are two smaller tunnels under the approach to the south end of the bridge.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

These two photos are views from the traffic deck of the northbound bridge span. The photo above is taken from near the center of the main span, while the photo below is taken near the north end of the bridge. While the bridge looks relatively flat when viewed from the side, it has a very pronounced hump in the structure when traveling across the traffic deck of the bridge.

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

The photo above is a view of the tunnel for 2nd Street SE, which runs under the north end of the Saint Anthony Falls Bridge. The vantage point is looking west towards the metal factory located on the upriver side of the bridge. The retaining wall along the bridge embankment has an interesting design. It is made out of cut stone and is held in place by a grid of think wire.

The photo below is one last look at the Saint Anthony Falls Bridge. This view is taken from the East River Flats on the north side of the river just upstream of the structure. Both the 10th Avenue Bridge and the Northern Pacific Bridge #9 are visible in the background.


I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge, Mississippi River, Minneapolis, MN

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