Due to locomotives becoming heavier over time, the Northern Pacific rebuilt this bridge in 1927. The rebuilt bridge consisted of 9 plate girder spans supported by 8 piers. In 1963, two plate girder spans and several piers were removed and replaced with a single large Warren style truss span. At the same time, the entire bridge was raised several feet. The higher bridge and wider main span were needed to accommodate river navigation traffic following the opening of the locks at Saint Anthony falls in 1963.
When first built, this bridge was part of the heavily traveled Northern Pacific mainline. The Northern Pacific Railroad merged with two other railroads creating the Burlington Northern system in 1971. As a result, this bridge became secondary as the BNSF favored the Great Northern located just downstream at Nicollet Island, a bridge that was also became part of the BNSF in the 1971 merger. A second result, due to the lower usage, is that twin parallel railroad tracks were reduced to a single track.
The City of Minneapolis master plan for developing the Mississippi River parkway system shows this rail line being abandoned, and the bridge being converted into a pedestrian and bicycle path. It is planned to become part of the Bottineau Trail, which is slated to eventually cross the entire state of Minnesota following abandoned railroad rights-of-way.
The photo above is a close view of the main bridge span. This view is from the West River Parkway looking northeast. This truss span was added to the bridge in 1963.