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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Granite City Crossing
Future MN-23 Mississippi River Highway Crossing
Saint Cloud, MN

MN-23 Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 73014
• Location: River Mile 927.4
• River Elevation: 981 Feet
• Counties: Benton, Stearns
• Highway: MN Highway 23
• Daily Traffic Count: 31,000 (Old Bridge, 2004)
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder, Concrete Deck
• Bridge Length: 889 Feet
• Bridge Width: 90 Feet, 4 Lanes (64 Feet Curb To Curb)
• Height Above Water: 57 Feet
• Date Opened: October 29, 2009
The Granite City Crossing was built on the site of the former DeSoto Bridge in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. This key regional river crossing fell victim to the I-35W Bridge collapse since it was the same design as the former I-35W Bridge, and it had similar structural problems. These issues resulted in the DeSoto Bridge being closed by MN-DOT shortly after the I-35W disaster. It was removed in the fall of 2008. The replacement bridge was put on a fast track in order that it be built and opened within a year of the old bridge being demolished.

The new bridge features two piers in the Mississippi River, and one smaller pier on the east end of the structure. This results in 3 over-river steel girder spans, and one smaller pre-stressed concrete girder span on the east end of the bridge over Riverside Avenue. While the deck is about the same height above the water as the DeSoto Bridge, the clearance under the new bridge is much higher given that the new bridge does not have the metal trusswork under the deck that existed on the DeSoto Bridge. Like the DeSoto Bridge, the new structure is just shy of 900 feet long. It is, however, significantly wider to allow for wider sidewalks, wider traffic lanes, and several bump-outs for observation areas.

The new bridge features granite, a common construction material native to the Saint Cloud area. In fact, the new bridge has been named the Granite City Crossing. While it is sleek looking and is a highly functional modern structure, losing the amazing DeSoto Bridge is a very high price to pay from a historical standpoint.

A bridge dedication ceremony was held on Monday, October 26, 2009 to celebrate the opening of the new Granite City Crossing. People were allowed to walk the bridge after the dedication. The bridge opened to traffic on Thursday, October 29. The bridge was finished a bit ahead of schedule, for which the contractor has earned a bonus.

The photo above is looking northeast along the downriver face of the Granite City Crossing from the plaza at the south corner of the structure. The photo below is looking southwest along the downriver face of the bridge from the east corner of the structure. Downtown Saint Cloud is visible in the background.


MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
These two photos are views of the main river spans taken in the spring of 2010. The photo above is looking northeast, while the photo below is looking southwest. Both views are of the downriver face of the structure. Note the open spots in the ice paralleling the bridge. This is due to road salt that was mixed in with snow that was thrown over the side of the bridge when it was plowed over the winter. This is exactly the type of pollution that should never be allowed to enter the river.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
The photo above is a close view of the expansion joint at the southwest end of the bridge. The photo below is a view of one of the observation bump-outs. Both photos show the granite and railings on the upriver side of the bridge.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
The photo above is a view of the southwest end of the bridge deck nearest to downtown Saint Cloud. The photo below is a view looking northeast down the sidewalk on the downriver side of the bridge deck from mid-span.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
The photo above is looking northeast towards the end of the bridge deck as seen from the sidewalk on the downriver side of the structure. The photo below is a close view of a banner that is hanging from the light poles. This banner is commemorating Saint Cloud being selected as the most livable city in the world in 2007, and its top 10 finish in 2009.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
These two photos are views of the bridge abutments. The photo above is the Stearns County side of the river as seen from the plaza near the south corner of the structure. The photo above is the Benton County side of the river near the east corner of the bridge. The abutments, railings, and one bridge pier are faced with granite native to the Saint Cloud area.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
The photo above is a view looking upriver from the plaza and regional trail that runs under the southeast end of the bridge. The Veterans Bridge and BNSF railroad bridge are visible a few blocks to the north of this location. The photo below is looking downriver from the same spot. The east bank of the river is largely residential.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
The photo above is looking northeast along the center line of the underside of the bridge. A water main is hung under the bridge deck. The photo below is a close view of the water main as it enters the bridge abutment. Note that the pipe is hung on bearings that allows the bridge to expand and contract without moving the pipe.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
The photo above is a view of the structure at the southeast bridge abutment. The steel is painted brown, but a gray rust inhibitor has been painted on the steel at the end of the bridge near the expansion joint. This is to protect the steel from any salt runoff that seeps through that joint. The photo below is a close view of a gusset plate under the bridge. The gusset plate is welded to the horizontal beam, but it is bolted to the girder and crossmember.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
The photo above is an overview of the construction project in March, 2009, as seen from the construction site on the east side of the project. The photo below is close view of the progress on the eastern of the two main bridge piers. Workers have installed a cofferdam using sheet pile, then drove pilings into the riverbed. From there, footings were installed, and now rebar cages are being assembled to form the bridge pier.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
These two photos are progress as of March, 2009, on the east bridge abutment (above) and a pier that will support the east end of the main river spans as well as one end of a smaller span on the east end of the bridge that will cross Riverside Avenue (below).

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
These two photos show construction work on the west end of the new MN-23 bridge. The photo above is a view from the project site on the east side of the river, while the photo below is a view from a riverside park located just downstream from the project.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
These two photos show construction work on the east end of the new MN-23 bridge. The photo above is a view from the project site on the west side of the river, while the photo below is a view from a site just downstream of the river crossing.

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
These two photos show construction in June, 2009, on the main river spans (above) and the approach span on the north end of the structure (below).

MN-23 Bridge
MN-23 Bridge
These two photos are more views from June, 2009. The photo above is the main river channel span as seen from the construction site on the east side of the project. The photo below is a close view of the eastern of the two main river span piers.

MN-23 Bridge

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