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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
Historic Mississippi River Crossing At Winona
Winona, Minnesota

John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 4260.
• Location: River Mile 725.5.
• River Elevation: 646 Feet.
• Highway: Old Duke Road.
• Daily Traffic Count: Unknown.
• Bridge Type: Concrete Arch, Concrete Deck.
• Length: 1,229 Feet Overall, 72 Foot Longest Span.
• Width: 22 Feet, 2 Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width: 36 Feet.
• Height Above Water: 32 Feet.
• Date Built: Opened December 1917, Rebuilt 1947 And 2004.
The original bridge at this location was an 1887 wooden bridge. That bridge connected Latsch Island to Wisconsin, serving the village of East Winona. The High Bridge was opened in 1892, and the wooden bridge became part of the overall river crossing.

By 1917, the old wooden bridge needed to be replaced. This concrete arch bridge that we see in these photographs was built to replace the wooden bridge. The Wisconsin end of the bridge remains much like it was when new. The Minnesota bridge ended about 20 feet off of the ground, where it connected with the trestle part of the High Bridge.

In 1942, the new Main Channel Bridge opened. The old concrete bridge would not work for the new bridge since the concrete bridge and the High Bridge formed a 90-degree turn, and highway engineers very much wanted to eliminate that right angle turn. As a result, a new North Channel Bridge was built. The High Bridge was salvaged because steel was in high demand for the war effort. But workers were in short supply, so the concrete bridge was not torn down.

After the war, in 1947, the Minnesota end of the concrete bridge was modified so the entrance formed a ramp. This eliminated the mid-air dead end, and allowed traffic to access Aghaming Park. The bridge was more or less forgotten to all but the local houseboat residents. The bridge deteriorated until it had to be closed to traffic in 1996.

The City Of Winona once again considered removing the old concrete bridge. But citizen involvement saved the bridge, and funds were raised to fix up the structure. The newly repaired John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge reopened to vehicles in 2004.


John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
The photo above shows the Minnesota side entrance to the wagon bridge. The arches had been cut down so the bridge deck would form a ramp. The photo below is looking directly towards the Minnesota end of the bridge.

John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
The photo above shows the deck of the bridge. The left lane is a 5 foot wide bicycle lane and walkway. The right lane is a 17 foot traffic lane. The photo below is the Wisconsin side approach. It is unmodified, and the pavement dates back to the WWII era. Notice the overgrown sidewalk on the right hand side.

John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
The photo above shows the approach road on the Wisconsin side of the Wagon Bridge. The pavement is in very good condition, as is the curb and gutter work. The bottom photo shows the approach road as it runs north-east towards WI-35, the Great River Road on the Wisconsin side. The approach road is closed off at this point. The power line feeds a relatively large marina just to the north of the approach road.

John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
Above is the Wisconsin end of the Wagon Bridge crossing, looking to the west. The snow has been plowed since the BNSF Railroad has a building just to the right of the roadway. The BNSF track is visible in the photo. The CN&W river crossing used to cross the BNSF right at the roadway. That must have been a sight to see given the amount of rail traffic, a train every 12 minutes or so, and the trains crossing into Winona, must have blocked this roadway a good portion of the day. The photo below is the marker to commemorate the donors who made the Latsch Bridge rehab possible.

John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
The photo above is looking southeast from the North Channel Bridge, part of the highway crossing at Winona. The photo below is the southwest end of the bridge on the Minnesota side of the north channel of the Mississippi River.

John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge
These two photos are views of the southwest end of the John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge. The photo above is the ramp leading up to the river channel crossing. The photo below is a side view of the ramp portion of the bridge.

John A. Latsch Wagon Bridge

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
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