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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
CP Rail Bridge
CP Rail Mississippi River Crossing At La Crosse
La Crosse, Wisconsin

CP Rail Bridge

• Structure ID:  
• Location: River Mile 699.8.
• River Elevation: 631 Feet.
• Railroad: Canadian Pacific Railroad.
• Daily Traffic Count: 28 Trains Per Day.
• Bridge Type: Steel Truss w/Swing Span.
• Length: 1,042 Feet, 178 Foot Longest Span.
• Width: 20 Feet, 1 Track.
• Navigation Channel Width: 150 Feet.
• Height Above Water: 22 Feet.
• Date Built: November 27, 1876.
This location is the site of one of the first 15 bridges to cross the Mississippi River, with the original bridge here opening on November 27, 1876. The current bridge dates to 1902 when this large steel swingspan was installed. Heading toward the east, the bridge has a deck plate girder span, followed by the swingspan, then a Parker (humpback) truss, and finally two Warren truss spans. The bridge was rebuilt in 1928. In 1998, the US Coast Guard condemned the bridge as a navigation hazard, and ordered that a lift bridge be put in its place. As of 2007, that work has not yet started, however there has been some talk about it late in 2009.

This bridge is part of a total of 4 bridges that make up the La Crosse railroad crossing. The other three bridges, moving east, are the East Channel Rail Bridge, French Slough Rail Bridge, and the Black River Channel Rail Bridge. These bridges were built by the Milwaukee Road, which merged with the Soo Line, which has since been bought out by the Canadian Pacific Railway. La Crosse is one of three places that the Amtrack Empire Builder passenger train crosses the Mississippi River, with the other two being Hastings, MN, and Little Falls, MN.

The upper two photos were taken in September, 2007, while the remaining photos were taken in June, 2007. Notice that the trees on the near side of the river have been cut down, resulting in much better sight lines for photographing this old bridge.


CP Rail Bridge
CP Rail Bridge
CP Rail Bridge
CP Rail Bridge
CP Rail Bridge
CP Rail Bridge
CP Rail Bridge
CP Rail Bridge

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