The main bridge in the Renville Co 1 and Redwood Co 101 river crossing
is about 3,000 feet south of this location. The Minnesota River has
a number of very large loops in this area, often nearly looping back
upon itself. In this location, the main bridge is at the apex of a
loop. At some point in the past, a channel was cut between the two
legs of the loop. This bridge crosses that channel.
At this time, I have not determined why this channel was cut. It is
used today as a flood overflow channel. It seems unlikely it was cut
just for this purpose since there are no other overflow channels nearby.
There also appears to be some ruins where the channel exits the upstream
leg of the loop. I suspect that this was some type of mill in the
distant past, and the channel was cut as a tailrace for the mill
waterwheel. I hope to one day learn the full history of this location.
The bridge itself is a very routine concrete bridge. What the bridge
lacks in character and decoration, it makes up for in functionality
and being located in a very scenic location.
The photo above is looking north down the length of the bridge deck from
the center of Renville County highway 1.
The photo above is looking north down the upstream west face of the
backchannel bridge. The photo below is looking north down the length of the
bridge deck from the southwest corner of the structure.
The photo above is looking upstream from the backchannel bridge towards the
main channel of the Minnesota River. The concrete foundation suggests that a
mill once stood at that location. The photo below is the bridge plate.
These two photos are from the spring flood of 2010. The photo above is
looking north down the length of the bridge deck. Notice that the guard
rail is bent, there are crawler tracks on the shoulder, and sawdust on
the ground. The photo below is a closer view of the aftermath of the
flood at the southwest corner of the bridge. It appears that flood water
pushed debris up onto the riverbank and into the guard rail, pushing the
guard rail over and breaking at least one of the support posts. A
backhoe was brought in to help clear the mess.
These two photos are more views from the spring flood of 2010. The photo
above is the upriver west face of the bridge. Flood waters have dropped
a bit and are just below the level of the bridge deck. The photo below
is looking upriver towards the concrete remains that are also pictured
above during a period of normal water levels.