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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
MN-48 WI-77 Bridge
MN-48 WI-77 Saint Croix River Crossing
Danbury, WI

MN-48 WI-77 Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 58001 (MN), B07000600000000 (WI).
• Location: River Mile 118.3.
• River Elevation: 865 Feet.
• Highway: MN-48, WI-77.
• Daily Traffic Count: 1,950 (2004).
• Bridge Type: Prestressed Concrete Girder, Concrete Deck.
• Length: 220 Feet.
• Width: 34 Feet, 2 Traffic Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable.
• Height Above Water: ???.
• Date Built: 1984.
At a local history exhibit, I found a blurb that says that the first bridge over the Saint Croix River near Danbury was built in 1914. That bridge had the effect of putting all the ferry boats in the region out of business. This bridge was likely a wagon bridge since automobiles and highways were relatively uncommon at that time.

The first state highway to this location was WI-152, which was built in 1923 starting at WI-35 in Danbury and heading west to the river. Highway WI-77 was built west in the late 1940s, reaching Danbury in 1951. At that time, the designation WI-152 was removed from the Danbury to state line section, which became part of WI-77.

On the Minnesota side, MN-48 was authorized in 1933 and built during the great depression. It was paved in the early 1950s.

The 1914 wagon bridge was certainly replaced at one time, likely in the late 1930s or just after WWII, likely with a truss bridge of some type. If anyone knows for sure, please let me know. This replacement bridge would have been obsolete by the 1970s, leading to it being replaced in 1984. The 1984 bridge is a very modern and very functional prestressed concrete girder bridge. With reasonable maintenance, it should last 100 years. The bridge is, however, completely devoid of any decorations, it was built purely for cost and function. That is too bad given the spectacular setting and the importance of the Saint Croix River.

The WI-77 highway in this area was once proposed to be part of a major highway, US-402. That highway would have been a diagonal route running from Sioux Falls, SD, to near Sault Ste Marie in Ontario. That route was never built. MN-23 serves part of the function, but even today, diagonal travel in western Minnesota is slow going.

The photo above is a view of the river crossing as seen from traffic level traveling eastbound from Minnesota heading towards Wisconsin.


MN-48 WI-77 Bridge
The photo above is looking west down the length of the bridge deck from the southeast corner of the structure. The photo below is a view of the south face of the bridge as seen from the east side of the river.

MN-48 WI-77 Bridge
MN-48 WI-77 Bridge
The photo above is looking northeast from the riverbank on the Wisconsin side of the river just downriver from the bridge. The photo below is a close view of the main river span from the same location.

MN-48 WI-77 Bridge

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