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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Skibo Lookout Road Bridge
CSAH-110 Saint Louis River Highway Crossing
Hoyt Lakes, MN

Skibo Lookout Road Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 69586
• Location: River Mile 179.5
• River Elevation: 1,514 Feet
• Highways: Saint Louis CSAH-110, Superior NF-128
• Daily Traffic Count: 215 (2003)
• Bridge Type: Prestressed Concrete Girder, Asphalt Deck
• Bridge Length: 77 Feet, 77 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 39 Feet, 2 Lanes
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: 12 Feet
• Date Built: 1990
County 110 appears to exist for no apparent reason. It really doesn't go anywhere, nor does it connect anything. The fact that only about 200 vehicles a day reinforces that opinion. The road is actually in very nice condition, and appears to be well maintained. That again is a bit unexpected given that this road was upgrade from a national forest road that was cut out of the wilderness during the logging era a hundred years ago. The only real reason I can find to explain this road is that it is a short-cut between Two Harbors and Silver Bay, major taconite shipping areas, and the mines of the eastern Iron Range.

County 110 is also known as Skibo Lookout Road. The road is named after a former fire watch tower located on a hill a few miles south of the Saint Louis River. This hill has a commanding view of the area and was an ideal location for a fire watch tower. The tower has since been removed. The site is now a wayside vista point with a parking area. There is a fantastic view from this site.

The bridge is a generic precast concrete girder bridge, typical of what MN-DOT would build when an economical and maintenance free bridge is needed. What is a bit uncommon is that the bridge is a single span. It does not have any support piers, and is supported only at the ends by the abutments. While the bridge has no decorative features, it does have the modern style of guardrail.

The driving surface on the bridge is asphalt. That again is a bit unusual. The bridge deck most likely is concrete. At some point since the bridge was built, the highway was repaved. Rather than cutting out the pavement near the bridge and matching the blacktop to the bridge deck, the paving crew simply paved right over the bridge. There is no harm in doing this, but it is a waste of material, and it adds unplanned weight to the bridge.

The photo above is looking south down the center of the deck of the Skibo Lookout Road Bridge. Given the low traffic count, one would probably have to stand in this location for a considerable amount of time before they would have any risk of being run over.

Skibo Lookout Road Bridge
These two photos are the downriver west side of the Skibo Lookout Road Bridge. The photo above is looking south across the Saint Louis River from the northwest corner of the structure, while the photo below is looking north across the Saint Louis River from the southwest corner of the bridge. The water level is very low in these late summer views, exposing the black rock that forms the bed of the river channel.

Skibo Lookout Road Bridge
Skibo Lookout Road Bridge
The photo above is looking southeast across the bridge deck from the northwest corner of the structure. The low afternoon sun located behind the photographer makes for a very nice deep blue sky on one of those rare clear sky days. The photo below is the bridge plate.

Skibo Lookout Road Bridge
Skibo Overlook
The photo above is looking north from the Skibo Overlook, a parking area maintained by the National Forest Service at the site of the former Skibo Lookout Tower. The Saint Louis River is about 3 miles north of this location. The photo below is the foundation where the lookout tower once stood.

Skibo Overlook

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