Current Weather Conditions
John A. Weeks III
Saturday, October 25, 2014, 11:44:22 AM CDT
Home Photo Tours Rail Fan 12 Easy Steps
Aviation Spacecraft Highways & Bridges About The Author

Google Search Maps
Groups
Images
Search
  Home
  • 12 Easy Steps
  • Aviation
  • Spacecraft
  • Highways & Bridges
    » Bridge Photography
      - MSP River Bridges
      - C & D Canal
      - Illinois River
      - Minnehaha Creek
      - Minnesota River
      - Mississippi River
        › Lake Itasca Area
        › Bemidji Area
        › Cass Lake - Ball Club
        › Grand Rapids Area
        › Blackberry - Crosby
        › Brainerd Lakes Area
        › Little Falls Area
        › St. Cloud Area
          · Champion Dam
          · City Bridge
          · Sartell Bridge
          · Bridge Of Hope
          · Sauk Rapids Bridge
          · Old Sauk Rapids Br
          · BNSF St. Cloud Br
          · Veterans Bridge
          · Granite City Crossing
          · Old DeSoto Bridge
          · University Bridge
          · St. Cloud Dam
          · Sportsman Island Br
          · Clearwater Bridge
        › North Metro Area
        › Port Of Minneapolis
        › St. Anthony Falls Area
        › Mississippi Rvr Gorge
        › St. Paul Area
        › S St. Paul - Hastings
        › Red Wing - Winona
        › La Crosse Area
        › Lansing - Clinton
        › Quad Cities Area
        › Muscatine - Louisiana
        › St. Louis Area
        › Chester - Cairo
        › Miss - Tenn - Ark
        › Ark - Miss - Louisiana
        › Louisiana Structures
      - Missouri River
      - St. Croix River
      - St. Louis River
      - Wisconsin River
      - Best Miss River Photos
      - Cable Stayed Bridges
      - McGilvray Road Bridges
      - I-35W Bridge Disaster
      - Miscellaneous Bridges
      - Madison County Bridges
    » Road Geek Topics
  • Photo Tours
  • Rail Fan
  • About The Author
 
Site Search By JRank
Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Sauk Rapids Bridge
Mississippi River Highway Crossing
Sauk Rapids, MN

New Sauk Rapids Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 05534
• Location: River Mile 929.5
• River Elevation: 988 Feet
• Counties: Benton, Stearns
• Highway: Benton County Highway 3, Stearns County Highway 1
• Daily Traffic Count:
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder
• Bridge Length: 1,296 Feet, 295 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 85 Feet, 4 Lanes
• Height Above Water: 60 Feet
• Date Built: October 25, 2007, Dedicated November 16, 2007
The Sauk Rapids Bridge was opened to traffic on October 25, 2007. The roadways and some trim work remained to be completed prior to the official ribbon cutting on November 16, 2007.

The new bridge replaces the old Sauk Rapids Bridge, which is an obsolete deck truss style bridge similar to the I-35W bridge that collapsed. Like the I-35W bridge, the old Sauk Rapids Bridge was considered to be fracture critical where a single failure in the bridge could lead to a total failure of the bridge. That bridge was at the end of its lifespan, and traffic was overwhelming its capacity given that it had only 2 lanes. The new bridge has 4 lanes, varying in width from 85 feet to 125 feet, and 4 spans of widths of 224 feet, 295 feet, 265 feet, and 220 feet. Signature features of the new bridge include the curved piers, the curved steel girders, and the multi-level helix for bicycle traffic. The new bridge fixes an important safety problem with the old bridge in that it also crosses the very busy high-speed BNSF railroad tracks on the Benton County side of the bridge.

The new alignment of the bridge was hotly debated. The first issue was which street to land on. It was eventually decided to land on 2nd Street on the Benton County side given that 2nd Street was also County Highway 3, and it had a freeway interchange with US-10. The second issue was how to cross Benton Ave, which is the main city street through the area. Locals want to cross Benton and land a bit further east. This would have eliminated a stoplight intersection and sped up traffic a bit. Area business operators were afraid that bypassing Benton Ave would adversely affect the downtown area. It was eventually decided to land before Benton Ave, allowing easy access from the bridge to the downtown area.

The Sauk Rapids bridge is located at the base of Sauk Rapids, a spot on the Mississippi River where the elevation falls rapidly. This area was once considered to be impassable. Rocks in the river set up huge standing waves and eddies that would swamp canoes and kayaks. The US Army Corps Of Engineers removed those rocks in the 1870s. The area is still a challenge for canoeists, but it is relatively safe for anyone who has a bit of experience with those boats.

The photo above is a profile view of the Sauk Rapids Bridge as seen from near the old Sauk Rapids Bridge, located just downstream. The view is from the north riverbank looking to the west on opening day for the new structure.


New Sauk Rapids Bridge
These two photos, taken on opening day in October, 2007, show a crossing heading southbound. The photo above is near the north end of the structure, while the photo below is near the middle of the river spans.

New Sauk Rapids Bridge
New Sauk Rapids Bridge
These two photos, taken on opening day in October, 2007, show a crossing heading northbound towards the city of Sauk Rapids. The photo above is near the middle of the river spans, while the photo below is near the north end of the structure.

New Sauk Rapids Bridge
New Sauk Rapids Bridge
The photo above is the southern-most main bridge pier as seen from the north side of the river on opening day in October, 2007. The photo below is the same bridge pier prior to the bridge girders being installed back in March, 2006.

New Sauk Rapids Bridge
New Sauk Rapids Bridge
These two views are from March, 2006. The photo above is taken from North Benton Drive in downtown Sauk Rapids near where the north abutment would be constructed. The photo below is the south abutment as seen from the sidewalk on the old Sauk Rapids Bridge.

New Sauk Rapids Bridge
New Sauk Rapids Bridge
These photos, from March, 2006, show construction work on the river piers as seen from the old Sauk Rapids Bridge, located just downstream from the new bridge.

New Sauk Rapids Bridge
New Sauk Rapids Bridge
These two photos are views of the construction work on the north side of the river in October, 2006. The photo above is an overview of the project. The concrete spans on the north end of the bridge are well underway, and the steel girders for the river spans have just been installed. The photo below is a close view of the helix structure supporting the bicycle trail connection.

New Sauk Rapids Bridge
New Sauk Rapids Bridge
These two photos are views from October, 2006, after the bridge girders have been erected. The photo above is an overview of the project, while the photo below is a close view of a span on the north side of the river channel. These photos were taken from the Old Sauk Rapids Bridge looking to the west.

New Sauk Rapids Bridge
New Sauk Rapids Bridge
These two photos are views from the south end of the project looking north across the Mississippi River. The photo above, from October, 2006, is the bridge after the steel has been erected, and the first sections of the deck are being installed. The photo below is the nearly completed bridge in September, 2007. Crews are working on the bridge approach road.

New Sauk Rapids Bridge
New Sauk Rapids Bridge
The photo above is the north abutment of the bridge as seen from the parking lot located below the structure. The photo below is a view from the same location looking towards the river. The key feature visible in the photo is the large helix that supports the bicycle trail connection between the bridge and the regional trail that runs under the bridge. These two photos are from September, 2007.

New Sauk Rapids Bridge
New Sauk Rapids Bridge
These two photos are views under the new Sauk Rapids Bridge during the final stages of construction. The view is looking south towards the south bank of the Mississippi River. The photo above is a view of the entire river crossing, while the photo below is a close view of one of the main bridge piers. These two photos are from September, 2007.

New Sauk Rapids Bridge

Made With Macintosh
Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2014, all rights reserved.
For further information, contact: john@johnweeks.com