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John A. Weeks III
Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 12:01:33 PM CST
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Chippewa Co 7, Yellow Medicine Co 7 Br
Minnesota River Highway Crossing
Wegdahl, MN

Chippewa Co 7 - Yellow Medicine Co 7 Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 87573.
• Location: River Mile 262.8.
• River Elevation: 912 Feet.
• Highway: Chippewa Co 7, Yellow Medicine Co 7.
• Daily Traffic Count: 580 (2001).
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder, Concrete Deck.
• Length: 506 Feet Overall, 140 Foot Longest Span.
• Width: 36 Feet, 2 Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable.
• Height Above Water: 20 Feet.
• Date Built: 1985.
The bridge at Wegdahl is one of two crossing of the Minnesota River between Granite Falls and Montevideo. This bridge is relatively new, and it is relatively long at just over 500 feet. While the bridge has a concrete deck and the modern slanted concrete guardrails, it also has the older style steel girders. This is likely due to the long spans in the bridge, two of which are 140 feet long. There are no decorative elements in this bridge, it was built purely for function.

These photos were taken during a period of high water where there was spring runoff combined with a series of unusually heavy rains. The water was about 10 feet higher than it normally is during the summer and fall months. Despite the water being high, it was not moving especially fast. There was a bunch of debris stuck under the bridge and on the piers. It appears to be mostly branches and downed trees.

Not much happens in Wegdahl based on how seldom it appears in news archives. The city mostly existed to support the Milwaukee Road Railroad. The Milwaukee Road merged into the Soo Line and then the Canadian Pacific, and now no longer runs through this area. A small short-line railroad is working to establish regular service over the former Milwaukee Road tracks. Those tracks cross county highway 7 just north of this bridge.

Note—an unusual item I noticed is that the NBI number for this bridge does not fit the typical MN-DOT bridge ID number scheme. This is the first and only bridge in Minnesota where I have seen that happen. I also wonder why the investment was made to build this bridge when the US-212 bridge is less than 2 miles upstream.

The photo above is looking north down the length of the county highway 7 bridge from the Yellow Medicine County side of the Minnesota River towards the Chippewa County side of the river. The photo below is looking south along the upriver west face of the structure.


Chippewa Co 7 - Yellow Medicine Co 7 Bridge
Chippewa Co 7 - Yellow Medicine Co 7 Bridge
These two photos are views looking north along the upriver west face of the county highway 7 bridge. The photo above is an overview photo, while the photo below is a close view of the trees piled up along the bridge piers. The calm water and low sun angle combine to light up the underside of the bridge resulting in the dramatic reflections off of the river surface.

Chippewa Co 7 - Yellow Medicine Co 7 Bridge
Chippewa Co 7 - Yellow Medicine Co 7 Bridge
The photo above is looking north down the length of the bridge deck from the southwest corner of the structure. This photo was taken late in the evening, which resulted in the long shadow cast by the bridge railing. The photo below is the bridge plate.

Chippewa Co 7 - Yellow Medicine Co 7 Bridge

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