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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
I-35 Bridges
I-35 Saint Louis River Highway Crossing
Scanlon, MN

I-35 Bridges

Northbound Span
• Structure ID: NBI: 09808
• Length: 486 Feet, 137 Foot Longest Span
• Width: 40 Feet, 2 Traffic Lanes
 
Southbound Span
• Structure ID: NBI: 09807
• Length: 486 Feet, 137 Foot Longest Span
• Width: 40 Feet, 2 Traffic Lanes
 
Statistics Common To Both Spans
• Location: River Mile 32.3
• River Elevation: 1,100 Feet
• Highways: I-35
• Daily Traffic Count: 27,600 (2006)
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder, Concrete Deck
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet
• Date Built: 1971
Interstate highway I-35 was finished between Hinkley and Duluth in 1971. That section of road replaced US-61 in many areas. Here in Scanlon, I-35 used a new road alignment that ran parallel to and just south of US-61. As a result, US-61 (since downgraded to be a county road) crosses the Saint Louis River just 1,600 feet upstream of I-35.

The I-35 bridges are two identical 486-foot long steel girder bridges. The girders are constructed from a series of very large steel I-beams. They sit on piers that are large pilings topped off with concrete pier caps. The deck and guardrails are reinforced concrete. These bridges were built at a time when the Interstate highway system was rapidly expanding. The key design features were economics and time to build. It had to be quick and cheap. As a result, the bridges a devoid of any decorative features. They do, however, serve their purpose very well. One hardly even realizes that they are crossing the dangerous Saint Louis River as they motor past at 70 miles per hour.

The river elevation at the I-35 bridges is 1,100 feet. For this point, it is a 500 foot vertical drop to Lake Superior. The river will drop this distance in just 6 miles (as the crow flies).

The photo above is looking south towards the upstream north side of the I-35 Bridges. The vantage point is along the west bank of the river being a car dealership near the intersection of MN-45 and Highway 61.


I-35 Bridges
The photo above is traveling northbound on I-35 crossing the east span of the Saint Louis River crossing. The photo below is traveling southbound on I-35 crossing the Saint Louis River. The Scanlon exit is located just south of the Saint Louis River.

I-35 Bridges
I-35 Bridges
These two photos are looking south from the west bank of the Saint Louis River from near the Highway 61 bridge located 1,600 feet upriver from the I-35 Bridges. The photo above is a wide angle shot, while the photo below is a closer view using a telephoto lens. The telephoto show is looking into the bright morning sun, and ended up a little dark as a result.

I-35 Bridges

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