The main channel bridge, just a few hundred feet north on US-10, is nearly 1,000 feet long. Not so for this little back channel structure. It is only 80 feet long. While the main bridge has a number of piers and spans, this little back channel bridge crosses this branch of the Mississippi River in a single leap. It is interesting that the main channel bridge has steel girders, but this small back channel bridge has concrete girders. One would think that the bridge builders would have just ordered up 80 more feet of steel and called it good.
A Mississippi River crossing that is made up of two or more bridges in series is not all that unusual, at least not on the Upper Mississippi River, but this is the only such example north of Red Wing, Minnesota.
Update—these two bridges failed during the spring flood of 2010. Ice became lodged under the westbound bridge. This caused water to backup behind the bridge. The bridges were closed on March 17, 2010, as water started flowing around and over the bridge, eventually washing out the east approach to the structures.
After the flood cleared, MN-DOT declared these two bridges to be a total loss. A temporary fill was placed on the east end of the westbound bridge, allowing it to be reopened to traffic while the eastbound bridge was rebuilt. The new eastbound bridge was completed and opened on July 8, 2010. Traffic was moved to the eastbound bridge, allowing the westbound bridge to be removed and rebuilt. That project was completed on August 30, 2010, when all four lanes of traffic were reopened.