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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
CSAH-61 Bridge
CSAH-61 Saint Louis River Highway Crossing
Scanlon, MN

CSAH-61 Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 09513
• Location: River Mile 32.6
• River Elevation: 1,100 Feet
• Highways: CSAH-61, US-61 Prior To 1991
• Daily Traffic Count: 5,400 (2002)
• Bridge Type: Prestressed Concrete Girder, Concrete Deck
• Bridge Length: 532 Feet, 132 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 44 Feet, 2 Lanes
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet
• Date Built: 1987
US Highway 61 was made famous by musician Bob Dylan in his album titled ‘Highway 61 Revisited’. The route once ran 1,714 miles from the Canadian border through Duluth, skirted the Mississippi River, and ended in New Orleans. It included several cultural centers such as the Twin Cities, Memphis, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Delta area, home of the American blues music.

In Minnesota, US-61 has been passed over by I-35 north of the Twin Cities. US-61 was truncated at Wyoming in 1991. The roadway north of Wyoming was turned back to state, county, and local jurisdictions. The section north of Duluth along the north shore survives as a state highway, MN-61. The short section near Scanlon, MN, is a county highway, CSAH-61. It is locally important to Carlton County, but no longer is important on a national scale.

The CSAH-61 bridge is a relatively new prestressed concrete girder bridge. The bridge was 21 years old when these photos were taken. The bridge features a wide deck with wide shoulders, the new style angled guardrails, and a separate sidewalk that is protected from the traffic lanes. Despite being downgraded to a county road, the bridge is still very busy handling 5,400 vehicles a day.

US-61 was authorized by Congress in 1926. It was largely graded by 1929, and paved south of Duluth by 1929. I-35 was competed south of Duluth in 1971. US-61 was marked on I-35W until the Scanlon exit, where US-61 branched off. The current bridge was built in 1987. US-61 was turned back to Carlton County in 1991, being renumbered CSAH-61, keeping the number 61 alive to avoid too much confusion over the road name.

The photo above is looking northeast towards the downriver south side of the bridge from the west bank of the Saint Louis River. While the river looks calm at this location, it is the calm before the storm as the river drops 500 feet over the next 6 miles to reach Saint Louis Bay and Lake Superior.

CSAH-61 Bridge
The photo above is looking northeast towards the south side of the CSAH-61 Bridge from the waterline on the west bank of the Saint Louis River. The photo below is looking east across the river along the south face of the bridge.

CSAH-61 Bridge
CSAH-61 Bridge
The photo above is looking east across the Saint Louis River along the south face of the bridge from near the waterline. The photo below is a view from under the west end of the bridge.

CSAH-61 Bridge
CSAH-61 Bridge
The photo above is looking east down the length of the sidewalk on the south side of the bridge. The photo below is looking northeast across the bridge deck from the same location near the southwest corner of the structure.

CSAH-61 Bridge

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