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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
US-53 Bridge (Southbound)
US-53 Saint Louis River Highway Crossing
Peary, MN

US-53 Bridge (Southbound)

• Structure ID: NBI: 69020
• Location: River Mile 131.5
• River Elevation: 1,315 Feet
• Highways: US-53
• Daily Traffic Count: 4,700 (2004)
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder, Concrete Deck
• Bridge Length: 178 Feet, 89 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 30 Feet, 2 Lanes
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: 19 Feet
• Date Built: 1963
US-53 is the major through highway across northern Minnesota. It runs from Duluth, through the Iron Range, and ends in International Falls. The route was mapped and designated as a US-highway in the 1930s, and the roadway was mostly paved by 1940. The section between Duluth and the Iron Range was upgraded to a 4-lane expressway in the 1960s, a project that was not completed until the early 1970s.

On this page, we look at the southbound US-53 bridge over the Saint Louis River. The southbound lanes were added in the early 1960s when this section of US-53 was upgraded to be an expressway. Like the northbound bridge, this span appears to have a newer deck. It must have been replaced at some point in the past since the bridge was first built. Unlike the northbound bridge, this bridge has the old style open guardrail. While the guardrail was updated on the northbound bridge, it has not been updated on the southbound bridge. The bridge is a steel girder bridge. That is likely due to this bridge being built before prestressed concrete girder bridges became common. The bridge has an unusual pier arrangement, with a single large pier sunk in the center of the river channel. Bridges of this side tend to have two piers, and tend to not place piers directly in the middle of the river channel.

The photo above is looking south down the center of the southbound US-53 Bridge over the Saint Louis River from a vehicle traveling southbound. The Hawks Trail Bridge is visible just to the right of this bridge.

US-53 Bridge (Southbound)
The photo above is looking northeast towards the downriver west face of the southbound US-53 Bridge. The vantage point is from the south end of the nearby Hawks Trail Bridge. This photo is a bit overexposed due to the dark area under the bridge. The photo below is a view looking northeast across the bridge deck from near the southwest corner of the structure.

US-53 Bridge (Southbound)

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