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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Veterans Memorial Bridge
Minnesota River Highway Crossing
Mankato, MN

Veterans Memorial Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 07042.
• Location: River Mile 114.5.
• River Elevation: 753 Feet.
• Highway: MN-860D (Unsigned), Belgrade Ave, Mulberry Street
• Daily Traffic Count: 19,700 (2002).
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder, Concrete Deck.
• Length: 933 Feet.
• Width: 88 Feet, 4 Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable.
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet.
• Date Built: 1985.
The first bridge across the Minnesota River in this area, an iron truss bridge with a swingspan, connected Mankato and North Mankato in 1879. That bridge was replaced by an ornate concrete arch bridge in 1917 that carried both automobiles and electric street cars.

The current bridge was built during 1985 and 1986. A flood control project involved installing levees and a flood wall along both sides of the river. The flood walls required that the 1917 bridge be removed. The US Army Corps of Engineers built the new Veterans Memorial Bridge to replace the 1917 bridge. The flood control project was very successful, having prevented Mankato from flooding during the massive floods in the 1990s and 2000s.

The Veterans bridge is unexpectedly long for crossing the river in an area where the river is locked into a narrow channel by flood walls. As it turns out, the bridge has two spans over the Minnesota River, a span over the Union Pacific railroad tracks, a span over busy Riverfront Drive, and two final spans over the public library parking lot. The bridge lands on North 2nd Street in Mankato, and crosses the US-169 freeway as part of a diamond interchange on the North Mankato side of the river.

Mankato was home to a car factory in the early 1900s. The Kato car, introduced in 1903, was the first US-built car to feature a V-8 engine.

The photo above is the Minnesota River channel spans of the Veterans Memorial Bridge. The view is looking downriver to the north from the bicycle trail located on the east river bank. This trail is located inside the river flood wall. This location can be accessed through a small gap in the flood wall that provides trail access to the convention center area. In the event of high water, a panel is placed in the gap to block flood water from flowing into the city.


Veterans Memorial Bridge
These two photos are views looking west from the intersection of East Plum Street and North 2nd Street towards the north face of the Veterans Memorial Bridge. The photo above is an overview of the bridge scene, while the photo below is a closer view of the middle bridge spans. The span above the sliver tank trailer crosses the Union Pacific railroad tracks. The river span is to the right, and the Riverfront Drive span is to the left.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
The photo above is a view of the span crossing the Union Pacific railroad tracks looking to the north. The photo below is a view of the span over Riverfront Drive, also looking north.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
These two photos are views of the south face of the Veterans Memorial Bridge. The photo above is a view from the Blue Earth County Library parking lot looking towards the first bridge pier on the east end of the structure. The photo below is a view from the sidewalk along Riverfront Drive looking towards the second bridge pier on the east end of the bridge.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
The photo above is looking down the south face of the Veterans Memorial Bridge from the stairway located on the south side of the east bridge abutment. The photo below is a view of the east end of the bridge as seen from the sidewalk on the north side of the bridge.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
These two photos are views of the bridge deck looking westbound from the sidewalk on the north side of the roadway. The photo above is the east end of the bridge, while the photo below is a view from near the top of the hump near the middle of the bridge. The overhead signs indicate that entrance ramps to US-169 are located on the far end of the structure.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
These two photos are the first of a four photo series showing a typical crossing of the Veterans Memorial Bridge heading westbound. The photo above is the turn lane from North 2nd Street onto the bridge approach. The photo below is approaching the east end of the bridge structure. Note that these photos from 2008 show the east end of the bridge prior to the veterans memorial being developed as shown in photos further below.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
These two photos are the final photos of a four photo series showing a typical crossing of the Veterans Memorial Bridge heading westbound. The photo above is a view from the top of the hump at the middle of the bridge. The photo below is approaching the west end of the structure. The right turn at the stop lights is the entrance to northbound US-169. The bridge located just beyond the traffic lights crosses the US-169 freeway.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
These two photos are views from under the Veterans Memorial Bridge. The photo above is looking west from the sidewalk along Riverfront Drive. The photo below is a detail view of the steel girders at the east bridge abutment. It appears that the bridge suffered a bit of deterioration that needed to be sandblasted and repainted. Note that it appears that spots on two beams were missed during this repair job.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
The east end of the Veterans Memorial Bridge was redeveloped in 2009. A veterans memorial with large markers was constructed, and the area was landscaped, repaved, new sidewalks were installed, and decorative lighting was added. The photo above is the marker with the bridge name, while the photo below is a view of the east end of the bridge following these improvements.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
The photo above is the back side of the new marker at the northeast end of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, which welcomes travelers to the City of Mankato. The photo below is the official MN-DOT bridge name sign.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
These two photos are bridge plates that are attached to the structure. The photo above is a monument plate noting the bridge name and its dedication date. The photo below is the MN-DOT bridge identification plate.

Veterans Memorial Bridge

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