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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Big Willow Park Foot Bridge
Minnehaha Creek Footbridge Crossing
Minnetonka, MN

Big Willow Park Foot Bridge

• Structure ID: N/A.
• Location: River Mile 18.5.
• River Elevation: 915 Feet.
• Structure Type: Pedestrian Bridge.
• Construction: Laminated Wood Arch.
• Length: 51 Feet.
• Width: 8 Feet.
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet.
• Date Built: 1977.
The Big Willow Park is a plot of land centered on a wetlands area that was flooded in the late 1800s by the mill pond that was impounded by the Saint Albans Mill dam. The eastern segment of this plot is occupied by a large public works facility and a series of sports fields. The western segment is a natural area that features a series of trail loops. Some of these trails follow an old railroad bed from the Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad, while others parallel and cross under the busy BNSF Railroad mainline.

The park was developed in 1977 as a joint project of the City of Minnetonka and the local Jaycees Club. Funding was provided by a federal grant. The project was widely recognized as an outstanding urban environmental project. The bridge crosses the Minnehaha Creek connecting the trails on the north side of the creek to the parking area along Minnetonka Boulevard. The bridge features two large laminated wood beams. While it is showing some age, the structure is holding up very well. Now that the park is 30 years old, the city embarked on a project in 2007 to update the park and refurbish the trails. Goals include adding additional trail loops, raising some trails that are prone to flooding, and optimizing the parking at the sports fields.

The photo above is looking northwest down the length of the bridge deck.


Big Willow Park Foot Bridge
The photo above is the upstream southwest face of the bridge, while the photo below is the downstream northeast face of the structure. Both views are from the south bank of the Minnehaha Creek.

Big Willow Park Foot Bridge
Big Willow Park Foot Bridge
The photo above is a view from the south corner of the structure. The photo below is looking southeast down the length of the bridge deck. The low sun angles in the late fall make for some very long shadows.

Big Willow Park Foot Bridge

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