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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Williams Brothers Pipeline Bridge
Minnesota River Pipeline Crossing
Granite Falls, MN

Williams Brothers Pipeline Bridge

• Structure ID: N/A.
• Location: River Mile 249.3.
• River Elevation: 869 Feet.
• Structure: Williams Brothers Pipeline.
• Product Transported: Refined Petroleum Products.
• Bridge Type: Cable Suspension.
• Length: 310 Feet (Estimated, Tower To Tower).
• Diameter: 8 Inch Pipe.
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable.
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet.
• Date Built: ???.
The Williams Brothers started building pipelines in 1908, and began to own and operate pipelines shortly thereafter. Williams branched off into other industries. The eventually hit upon the idea of laying fiber optic cable along their pipelines, an idea that eventually became Williams Telecommunications, later known was WilTel. The company ran into debt problems after the dot-com boom, resulting in a major refocus. The oil pipeline business became Williams Energy, which was renamed Magellan Midstream Partners in 2002. The parent company, now known simply as Williams, focuses on natural gas pipelines, and the pipeline construction business is now known as the Willbros Group.

The pipeline that crosses the Minnesota River near Granite Falls was built and operated by Williams Brothers, and is now owned and operated by Magellan Midstream Partners. The pipeline carries refined petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel fuel. The major source of these products is the Pine Bend Refinery located in Rosemont, Minnesota, and operated by Koch Industries under a subsidiary named Flint Hills Resources. The pipeline is 8 inches in diameter as it crosses the Minnesota River.

This pipeline begins at the Pine Bend Refinery as a 12 inch pipeline. It travels west through Apple Valley, then crosses the Minnesota River near the US-169 Bloomington Ferry Bridge. It travels north until it meets the BNSF Railroad line heading west towards the west coast. The pipeline follows the railroad to Willmar, Minnesota. At Willmar, the line branches, with a 12 inch pipe heading towards Fargo, and a second 12 inch pipe heading south. Just south of Willmar, the pipeline converts from a 12 inch pipe to an 8 inch pipe. The pipeline continues south to Granite Falls, then turns southwest to Marshall, Minnesota. The line branches at Marshall, with a 6 inch pipe heading to Watertown, South Dakota, and an 8 inch pipe heading to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Williams Brothers pipeline connects at several points to a network of 8,700 miles of pipeline carrying refined petroleum products connecting 13 states between Minnesota and Texas.

The Williams Brothers pipeline bridge is the only pipeline bridge that I am aware of in Minnesota. There is also a pipeline bridge on the Mississippi River new Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and at least 2 that I know of on the Missouri River. This is also one of the few pure suspension bridges located in the state of Minnesota.

The photo above is looking west across the Minnesota River along the north face of the pipeline bridge.


Williams Brothers Pipeline Bridge
These two photos are views looking south towards the north face of the Williams Pipeline Bridge. The photo above is looking downstream past the Minnesota Falls Dam. The photo below is looking between buildings on a private home located just below the falls.

Williams Brothers Pipeline Bridge
Williams Brothers Pipeline Bridge
These two photos are more views from the east end of the pipeline bridge. The photo above is the east bridge tower. The photo below is looking due west directly across the river.

Williams Brothers Pipeline Bridge

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