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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
US Highway 2, US Highway 71
Mississippi River Highway Crossing
Bemidji, MN

US Highway 2 And 71

Eastbound Span
• Structure ID: NBI 04014
• Highway: US Highway 2 (EB), US Highway 71 (SB)
• Daily Traffic Count: 4,850 (2004)
Westbound Span
• Structure ID: NBI 04013
• Highway: US Highway 2 (WB), US Highway 71 (NB)
• Daily Traffic Count: 4,850 (2004)
Statistics Common To Both Spans
• Location: River Mile 1286.4
• River Elevation: 1,339 Feet
• County: Beltrami
• Bridge Type: Concrete Girder
• Bridge Length: 186 Feet, 92 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 41 Feet Per Span, 2 Lanes Each Span
• Height Above Water: 9 Feet
• Date Built: 1979
Two identical bridges carry US-2 and US-71 across the Mississippi River on a divided highway built in 1979 that bypasses the city of Bemidji. In this area, the Mississippi River flows from lake to lake. In this case, Carr Lake is just up river, and Lake Irving is just down river. Those directions are a bit deceptive since the river is actually flowing north, so down river is to the north of this location.

The river elevation is 1,339 feet at this locations. It will stay at this elevation through three lakes and under several bridges in the Bemidji area. The river has already fallen 136 feet from Lake Itasca. That drop has occurred in 61 river miles, a rate of just over 2 feet per river mile. Amazingly, this 61 river miles covers only 21 air miles, which means that the river drops about 6 feet per air mile, and the river path takes about 3 river miles for each linear mile of distance.

US Highway 2 And 71
These two photos are views of the US-2 and US-71 river crossing as seen from Yellowhead Road, the frontage road that runs along the north side of the highway. The photo above is a view from west of the northbound bridge. The photo below is a side view of the northbound bridge, with the southbound span behind the front bridge. The photo at the top of the page is another view of the side of the northbound bridge.

US Highway 2 And 71
US Highway 2 And 71
These two photos are views of the US-2 and US-71 Mississippi River crossing as seen from the frontage road on the south side of the highway. The photo above is a wide shot of the bridges, while the photo below is a closer view of the river crossing.

US Highway 2 And 71
US Highway 2 And 71
The two photos show a typical river crossing from an automobile point of view. The photo above is a northbound crossing (west on US-2), while the slightly blurry photo below is crossing southbound (east on US-2).

US Highway 2 And 71

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
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