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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Old US-71 Bridge
Minnesota River Highway Crossing
Morton, MN

Old US-71 Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 4667.
• Location: River Mile 203.6.
• River Elevation: 815 Feet.
• Highway: Trunk Highway Access Road.
• Daily Traffic Count: 50 (1994).
• Bridge Type: Steel Through Truss.
• Length: 122 Feet.
• Width: 27 Feet, 2 Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable.
• Height Above Water: ???.
• Date Built: 1927.
By the mid-1990s, the Jackpot Junction Casino had become a major enterprise, attracting gaming patrons from all over southern Minnesota as well as the Twin Cities. The roads near Morton were ill-suited to handle this increase in traffic. MN-DOT decided to fix the situation by rebuilding and widening US-71 past Morton, across the Minnesota River, and towards Redwood Falls. Completed in 1997, this bypass resulted in two new Minnesota River bridges, and the removal of one of the old river bridges.

This through truss bridge once carried US-71 and MN-19 across a back- channel of the Minnesota River known as Sulphur Lake. The bridge serves no real need today, but there was also no need to remove it since it was basically sound and not in the way. It is still open to traffic, as is much of the old US-71 pavement in the area. It is hoped that a regional trail will be established in this area at some point in the future. Such a trail would require a fairly large trail bridge to be built across the main channel of the Minnesota River, something that will have to wait until the state is a little more flush with cash.

The photo above is a view of the upstream west side of the Old US-71 Bridge as seen from the north bank of Sulphur Lake. The new US-71 backchannel bridge is located behind the truss bridge.


Old US-71 Bridge
The photo above is a view of the downstream face of the Old US-71 Bridge as seen from the north bank of the river channel. The photo below is a similar view from the south bank of the river channel. The rip-rap along the riverbank keeps the brush in check.

Old US-71 Bridge
Old US-71 Bridge
The photo above is looking southwest through the truss structure down the path of old highway US-71. The photo below is a similar view looking northeast through the truss structure down the path of old highway US-71. The vehicle in the photo is parked, so there was no danger of the photographer being run down.

Old US-71 Bridge
Old US-71 Bridge
The photo above is looking north from the southwest corner of the Old US-71 Bridge. The photo below is the bridge plate.

Old US-71 Bridge

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