The Minnesota Valley Railroad Bridge consists of two structures, a steel truss
bridge crossing the main Minnesota River channel, and this wood timber trestle
crossing a backchannel known as Sulphur Lake. Sulphur Lake has never been
navigable, so there is no need to provide a span to allows boats to pass the
structure. I know very little about this bridge. The main channel bridge
appears to date from the 1883/1884 era, however, I do not know if the Sulphur
Lake Bridge dates to that time period, or if the trestle has been replaced one
or more times since it was opened.
What is interesting about this location is that there are five bridges
within a half-mile of each other, all with the goal of crossing the
Minnesota River. Despite the common mission, we find 5 different bridge
styles. We have a short but wide through truss, and long and narrow
through truss bridge, a prestressed concrete bridge, a steel girder bridge,
and this wooden trestle structure.
The photo above is a view of the upriver west face of the Sulphur Lake Bridge
as seen from a vehicle crossing the nearby highway US-71 bridge over Sulphur
Lake. The photo below is the same view of the railroad trestle, this time,
looking west under the US-71 bridge over Sulphur Lake.
The photo above is a view of the upstream side of the Sulphur Lake Bridge
as seen from the north bank of the Minnesota River. The photo below is
a closer view of the channel crossing.