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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Vermilion Trail Bridge
CSAH-4 Saint Louis River Highway Crossing
Biwabik, MN

Vermilion Trail Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 69518
• Location: River Mile 148.0
• River Elevation: 1,337 Feet
• Highways: CSAH-4
• Daily Traffic Count: 1,050 (2003)
• Bridge Type: Prestressed Concrete Girder, Concrete Deck
• Bridge Length: 198 Feet, 65 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 44 Feet, 2 Lanes
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: 18 Feet
• Date Built: 1982
Saint Louis County Highway CSAH-4, also known as the Vermilion Trail, is a major north-south corridor that connects Duluth with the heart of the eastern section of the Iron Range.

The river crosses under the highway at an angle, so the bridge is built at this same angle. The result is a deck that is shaped like a rhombus or diamond rather than a square. The bridge is a very modern prestressed concrete girder bridge that is very typical of nearly all newer bridges being built in Minnesota, at least of the shorter and more moderate lengths. Like other prestressed concrete girder bridges in the area, this one is built strictly for function, and has no decorative elements.

CSAH-4 has recently been named the Rudy Perpich Memorial Drive, after Minnesota's longest serving governor. Perpich served non-consecutive terms from 1976 to 1991. He was famous for coming up with ideas that were sometimes interesting, and sometimes a bit outlandish. The media liked to refer to Perpich as ‘Governor Goofy’, perhaps not realizing that things would get truly bizarre 8 years later when pro-wrestler Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura became governor. The highlight of Perpich's tenure was hosting Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in his visit to the Twin Cities in 1990.

The photo above is looking northwest down the center of the bridge deck. The angle shape of the bridge is readily apparent where the blacktop meets the concrete approach.


Vermilion Trail Bridge
These two photos are views of the northeast face of the Vermilion Trail Bridge. The bridge has three spans, with two main bridge piers. There is a large bushy tree located next to one of the bridge piers, which gets in the way of getting a nice profile photo of the structure. One never seems to have a chainsaw handy when you need one. The photo above is the southern span, while the photo above is the main river channel and northern spans.

Vermilion Trail Bridge
Vermilion Trail Bridge
The photo above is looking north across the bridge deck from the southeast corner of the Vermilion Trail Bridge. The photo below is the bridge plate, which is located on the bridge railing at the northeast corner of the bridge facing the traffic lanes.

Vermilion Trail Bridge

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