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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
US-75 Tailrace Channel Bridge
US-75 Minnesota River Highway Crossing
Odessa, MN

US-75 Bridge (Tailrace Channel)

• Structure ID: NBI: 9017.
• Location: River Mile 314.4.
• River Elevation: 940 Feet.
• Highway: US-75.
• Daily Traffic Count: 640 (2004).
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder, Concrete Deck.
• Length: 218 Feet.
• Width: 30 Feet, 2 Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable.
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet.
• Date Built: 1956.
This bridge is the southernmost of two bridges that are located in front of the downstream face of the US-75 Dam. The northern bridge crosses the historic main channel of the Minnesota River. This bridge crosses the outflow or tailrace channel of the US-75 Dam.

As it happens, the Minnesota River flowed along the northern section of the river valley in this area. When the dam was built in the early 1970s, it crossed the entire river valley. It blocked not only the the Minnesota River, but several other small rivers and streams as well. One of these rivers is the Yellow River. It once flowed under US-75 and converged with the Minnesota River about a half-mile east of US-75. This bridge was built over that river channel. When the dam was built, the bridge was reused for the outflow channel of the dam. During periods of high water, the outflow channel carries the water from all of these rivers and streams, which results in high water flows in the outflow channel. These high water levels come very close to the bottom of this bridge.

This structure is a very typical 1950s era bridge. It uses steel girders and a concrete deck, plus metal guardrails. A modern bridge would use concrete girders because steel requires maintenance and painting. Also, a modern bridge would use slanted concrete guardrails to help lessen the impact of crashes and to keep road debris from getting into the river.

The photo above is a view of the tailrace channel bridge as seen when traveling northbound on US-75. The dam structure is located to the left of the highway, while the Minnesota River main channel is located to the east of the highway. The main channel of the Minnesota River crosses under US-75 just beyond the crest of the small hill in the distance.


US-75 Bridge (Tailrace Channel)
The photo above is looking north down the length of the bridge deck from the center of US-75. The photo below is looking east towards the upriver face of the bridge as seen from the top of the US-75 Dam. Note that the water is very near the bottom of the bridge girders.

US-75 Bridge (Tailrace Channel)
US-75 Bridge (Tailrace Channel)
The photo above is looking towards the northeast at the upriver face of the US-75 tailrace channel bridge during a period of high water after the spring snow melt. The photo below is a similar view of the structure in late summer during a period of more normal water levels.

US-75 Bridge (Tailrace Channel)

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