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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
US-212 Bridge
Minnesota River Highway Crossing
Granite Falls, MN

US-212 Bridge (Granite Falls)

• Structure ID: NBI: 12000.
• Location: River Mile 252.1.
• River Elevation: 881 Feet.
• Highway: US-212.
• Daily Traffic Count: 6,400 (2004).
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder, Concrete Deck.
• Length: 397 Feet.
• Width: 59 Feet, 2 Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable.
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet.
• Date Built: 1986.
Prior to 1934, US-212 headed northeast out of Montevideo, and ended up at Willmar, following the present day routes of MN-7 and MN-23. In 1934, a new alignment was picked with US-212 heading southeast out of Montevideo and running along the Minnesota River Valley to Granite Falls, where it would turn to the east, cross the river, and head straight east across the state to Chaska (near the twin cities).

At that time, a new bridge had just been built over the Minnesota River in Granite Falls in 1931 as bridge #5045. The new US-212 routing used this new bridge. Aerial photos at the Minnesota State Historical Society dated from 1960 show a three span truss bridge at this location. The bridge was modified in 1964 to allow trucks to have more clearance when traveling through the truss sections. By the mid-1980s, this bridge was obsolete for US highway traffic.

The new 1986 bridge is a steel girder bridge with a concrete deck. It is a very routine bridge with no decorative features. But since it is located in such a scenic spot on the river, the bridge really stands out as a nice looking structure. A park was built on the west end of the span, and a sidewalk allows one to walk under the bridge. From the underside, the bridge looks like it is showroom fresh. Apparently someone is maintaining this bridge very well.

One interesting feature of the bridge is the pedestrian sidewalk. Having a sidewalk is a critical safety feature, especially for people on bicycles. The modern thought is that there should be a solid guardrail between the traffic lanes and the sidewalk. This bridge was, however, built in the period of time after it was known that a bridge should have a walkway, but before it was realized that the walkway needs to be protected. As a result, the sidewalk is open to the traffic lanes on this bridge.

The photo above is looking northeast towards the south face of the US-212 bridge. The vantage point is a park located on the west riverbank.

US-212 Bridge (Granite Falls)
The photo above is view looking north from the parking lot of the Yellow Medicine County Museum. The river makes a bend to the east and flows downriver to the right of the photo. This photo was taken during a lull between two crests of the flood of 2010. Despite the water being high, it doesn't appear to be any higher than in the 2008 photos above. The photo below is looking east down the length of the bridge deck from the northwest corner of the structure. This photo shows the sidewalk and metal bridge railing on the north side of the bridge deck.

US-212 Bridge (Granite Falls)
US-212 Bridge (Granite Falls)
The photo above is looking towards the southwest bridge abutment from a walking trail that leads under the west end of the bridge. The photo below is looking east across the Minnesota River along the south face of the bridge.

US-212 Bridge (Granite Falls)
US-212 Bridge (Granite Falls)
The photo above is a view from the walking trail under the west end of the bridge. The photo below is looking east across the Minnesota River along the north face of the structure.

US-212 Bridge (Granite Falls)
US-212 Bridge (Granite Falls)
These two photos are views crossing the US-212 heading eastbound. The photo above is entering the west end of the structure, while the photo below is a view from mid-span.

US-212 Bridge (Granite Falls)

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