The MN-101 river crossing is known as the Betty Adkins Bridge due
to a 1995 act of the Minnesota state legislature. Betty Adkins was
a 12-year state senator from Saint Michael. She was known for bouncing
back from several major setbacks and tragedy in her life.
Highway 101 originally crossed the Mississippi River just upstream at the
CSAH-42 Parrish Avenue Bridge. MN-DOT desired to build a bypass around
Elk River and connect MN-101 directly to US-169 to allow US-169 traffic
an easy path to I-94. The result was a 2 lane bridge built in 1967. That
was a steel plate girder bridge. A new concrete girder bridge was put down
alongside the 1967 structure in 1993, and the 1967 structure became
dedicated to northbound traffic. This left the odd situation of one bridge
having steel girders, while the twin had concrete girders. The 1967 bridge
was replaced in 2001 with another concrete girder bridge that really does
look like a twin to the 1993 bridge. The CSAH-42 bridge was replaced in
1985, so the CSAH-42 bridge that stands today did not carry the MN-101
designation, but its predecessor did.
The National Bridge Inventory considers this to be three bridges. The
southbound span was built in 1993, while the northbound span opened in 2001.
The southbound span has an on-ramp that joins the main southbound span over
water. NBI considers this on-ramp to be a separate bridge, and it has its
own NBI number.
The photo above and photo below were taken during the spring of 2005
during the high water season. Due to the late evening time, the only
view of the bridge that was available was from the southwest corner
looking towards the north. The photo above is view of the bridge at
the river level, while the photo below is a view of the bridge from
the traffic deck. The north end of the bridge flares out into an
interchange with US-169 and US-10.
The photo above is a view of the older of the two spans, looking north
across the Mississippi River. The photo below is the start of a typical
river crossing heading north. This trip will cross the newer of the two
bridge spans. The approach road from the south is under construction as
part of the project to upgrade MN-101 to be a 4-lane freeway.
These two photos, taken in the fall of 2008, continue our crossing of
the Betty Adkins Bridge heading northbound. In the upper photo, we are
about halfway across the bridge. The big green sign indicates that we
have options for US-10 and US-169 as well as staying on MN-101. In the
photo below, the ramp to the right carries traffic to southbound US-169
and eastbound US-10. The mainline traffic now has the choice to exit
to US-10 westbound or continue on northbound US-169. MN-101 ends just
around the bend in the highway.
These photos are two views taken in the fall of 2006. The water is much
lower than the spring of 2005 photos. In fact, the 4th pier is high and
dry in these photos, while they were at the edge of the river in the
photos at the top of this page. These views are of the newer span, taken
from the southeast corner of the bridge looking to the north.
These two photos are views from under the north end of the bridge. The
newer northbound span is on the left, while the older southbound span
is on the right. The ground at this location was under water in the
spring of 2005 photos at the top of this page.
The photo above is view under the northbound span looking to the southwest.
It is interesting that the two bridges look nearly identical despite being
built 12 years apart. The photo below shows the merger of the southbound
span (on the left) and the entrance ramp bridge from US-10 (on the right).
The merger looks like a smooth curve to the bridge traffic, but from this
vantage point, we can see that the bridges are built from straight sections