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John A. Weeks III
Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 9:14:52 AM CDT
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Main Street Bridge
Main Street Saint Louis River Highway Crossing
Cloquet, MN

Main Street Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 09517
• Location: River Mile 36.3
• River Elevation: 1,179 Feet
• Highways: Main St, MSAS-105
• Daily Traffic Count: 850 (2002)
• Bridge Type: Prestressed Concrete Girder, Concrete Deck
• Bridge Length: 200 Feet, ??? Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 38 Feet, 2 Lanes
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable Feet
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet
• Date Built: 1995
The Main Street Bridge in Cloquet, Minnesota, connects the central downtown area of the city to Dunlap Island, and area shared by heavy industry and parks. The current bridge is very new, having been built in 1995. It replaced and older bridge that was located one block to the west, just upstream from the current bridge location. The new location eliminates a jog in main street. This is a welcome fix given that Dunlap island sees both truck traffic for the industry and long RVs and motorhomes that use the campground.

The huge MN-33 expressway bridge sits very close to the Main Street bridge. While the MN-33 bridge soars high over the water, the Main Street bridge is very low to the water. This is an interesting side by side contrast. The reason is that the heavily traveled MN-33 expressway goes over the top of the railroad tracks to avoid having through traffic stop for trains. The much less used Main Street bridge is at the same grade level as the railroad tracks. Since railroads are very sensitive to elevation and grades, the rail tracks cannot easily be raised or lowered. As a result, the elevation of Main Street was determined by the railroad tracks.

The bridge is a prestressed concrete girder bridge with a reinforced concrete deck. That is pretty typical of a rural Minnesota bridge. What is not as typical is the extensive use of decorative elements on the bridge. We see cobblestone on the side of the bridge, paver stones on the walkways, wrought iron guardrails, and fancy retro-style street lights. While I am sure that these features added to the cost of the bridge, a bridge sitting in a location such as this that has both the natural beauty of the Saint Louis River and the history of the city of Cloquet simply has to be a signature structure. The bridge designers really hit a home run with this landmark bridge.

The photo above is looking south along the upriver west face of the Main Street Bridge over the south channel of the Saint Louis River. Dunlap Island is on the near side of the river. The US Gypsum mill is on the far side of the channel. The photo below is a view of the Main Street Bridge as seen from the sidewalk on the upriver side of the MN-33 highway bridge over the south channel of the Saint Louis River.


Main Street Bridge
Main Street Bridge
The photo above is looking southeast across the deck of the Main Street Bridge from the northwest corner of the structure. The south span of the MN-33 Bridge dominates the background. The photo below is looking south down the center of the deck.

Main Street Bridge
Main Street Bridge
These two photos are views of the Main Street Bridge over the south channel of the Saint Louis River. The vantage point is the sidewalk on the south span of the MN-33 highway bridge over the river. In these views, we are looking southwest towards the northeast corner of the bridge. The railroad track on the near end of the bridge is the Cloquet Terminal Railroad, which runs on the former Duluth & Northeastern tracks.

Main Street Bridge

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