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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Wild Rivers Trail Bridge
Regional Trail Saint Croix River Crossing
Gordon, WI

Wild Rivers Trail Bridge

• Structure ID: N/A.
• Location: River Mile 162.7.
• River Elevation: 1,014 Feet.
• Structure Use: Corridor #35, Wild Rivers State Trail.
• Bridge Type: Steel Deck Plate Girder.
• Length: 148 Feet (Estimated).
• Width: 12 Feet, 1 Track.
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable.
• Height Above Water: ??? Feet.
• Date Built: ???.
Two railroad bridges cross the Saint Croix River within 400 feet of each other just north of the small town of Gordon, Wisconsin. The upstream bridge is the former Milwaukee Road mainline to Superior, which is now operated by the Canadian National Railroad. The down stream bridge is the former Soo Line mainline from central Wisconsin to Superior.

In 1985, the Soo Line purchased the Milwaukee Road, so it ended up owning both rail lines through Gordon. The older Soo mainline was abandoned, and the newer Milwaukee Road line was upgraded. While I have not been able to document when the Soo Line mainline was abandoned, I suspect it was 1986 or 1987. The Soo Line was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railroad, but the CPR sold off former Wisconsin Central rail lines to the Canadian National Railroad in 2001. As a result, the CN now operates trains on the upstream bridge.

Ownership of the former Soo Line right-of-way, including this bridge, was purchased by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The DNR established a mixed-use ATV, hiking, and snowmobile trail called the Wild Rivers State Trail, also known as trail Corridor #35. The trail eventually spanned 96 miles from Rice Lake, through Spooner, Trego, Wascott, Gordon, Solon Springs, and into the south side of Superior. Once the DNR gained control of the rail line, the bridges were redecked with wood and guardrails were added.

Beyond that, I have not been able to find documentation on any of the bridge dimensions, and aerial photos at Google Earth are too foggy in that area to make accurate estimates.

The photo above is a profile view of the Wild River Trail Bridge as seen from the nearby Gate Road Bridge, located just downstream of the Soo Line Railroad right-of-way. The photo below is the west face of the bridge as seen from the southwest corner of the structure.

Wild Rivers Trail Bridge
Wild Rivers Trail Bridge
The photo above is looking north towards the north end of the bridge from mid-span. The trail heading away from the bridge is very level and straight given that this is a converted railroad right-of-way. The photo below is a view looking northeast from the bridge deck.

Wild Rivers Trail Bridge
Wild Rivers Trail Bridge
These two photos, looking to the north from near the south end of the bridge, are two similar views taken during two different seasons. The photo above is early spring. The trees are just starting to bud out. The photo below is mid-summer. Both the trees and the grass have greened up and filled out.

Wild Rivers Trail Bridge
Wild Rivers Trail Bridge
The photo above is a view of the river crossing from the south bank of the Saint Croix River just downstream of the bridge looking to the east. The photo below is the west face of the bridge as seen from the southwest corner of the structure.

Wild Rivers Trail Bridge

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