This bridge replaced a steel beam bridge built in 1919 and rebuilt in
1937. Highway engineers wanted to build a signature bridge at this
location to recognize that this is the first true bridge to cross
the mighty Mississippi River. One design that was considered is a
laminated wooden arch. While it would have looked fantastic, the price
was simply too high. As a compromise, a rather ordinary bridge was
built, but it was dressed up with the wood cladding on each side of
the structure, making it look like an old wooden bridge from the river
level point of view.
The MN-200 bridge is located about 2 miles from the source of the
Mississippi River. While MN-200 is a rather small state highway,
it does stretch 2/3 of the way across the state of Minnesota, and
it will cross the Mississippi River a second time. That crossing
is between Grand Rapids and Aitkin about 100 miles east of this location.
Notice the solar panel and electronics box in the photo below. That
is a river monitor station installed by the State of Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency. It monitors oxygen levels and checks for heavy metals
such as mercury.
The photo above is a side view of the MN-200 bridge. The sides of the bridge
are covered with wood to make the bridge look more rustic. The photo below
is a view of the river channel down river and to the north of the bridge.
The channel in this area is little more than stream flowing through a
marsh. The photo at the top of the page is a view of the bridge deck.