If someone wanted to capture the grandeur of the bridges that cross the
Mississippi River, they could start and complete that process in just
this one location in Anoka, Minnesota, at the US-169 Ferry Street Bridge.
This is, bar none, the most elegant and spectacular bridge to cross the
mighty Mississippi River. Yes, Memphis has the big-M, Alton has the
Superbridge, and the Twin Cities have the 10 lane super-slabs, but when
it comes to style and flair, this is where it is happening.
The bridge consists of 10 concrete arches loaded with art deco style
detail. This includes the rounded parts of the piers, the lines in
the thicker beams, the ornate guardrail, and the decorative lighting.
The bridge looks like a small army of concrete elements marching across
the river. On a still day, the bridge casts a shadow on the river's
mirror-like surface that is difficult to tell from the original.
Despite these decorative details, the bridge is still an impressive
995 feet long, just 5 feet shy of the 1,000. Despite being built
in 1919, this bridge still manages to carry 48,000 vehicles a day.
Time hasn't always treated this bridge so well. The bridge was largely
neglected most of its life, and fell into disrepair to the point where
it had to be closed in 1991. The state Department of Transportation was
unsure what to do. They built a temporary bridge next to this bridge to
carry the traffic across the river while they debated an outcome and
searched fro funding. It was finally decided in 1996 to restore the Ferry
Street Bridge by rebuilding it from the arches up, a construction project
that took 3 years to complete. At the same time, the deck would be
made higher, and dedicated sidewalks would be installed. Once the
bridge was completed, the temporary bridge was removed, and US-169 once
again uses the 1929 bridge.
Based on looks alone, the wait during the 1990s was certainly worth
it. The rebuild structure has the looks of the old bridge and the
technology of a new bridge in a best of both worlds combination.
The photos above and below, taken along side the north face of the
bridge in the spring of 2005, shows that the bridge almost glows in
the low angle evening sunlight.
The photo above is a view of the bridge deck taken during the late
evening in the spring of 2005. The photo below is a fall 2008 view
looking the same direction from the other side of the roadway. This
is the first photo of three views taken while crossing the bridge
These photos are two more views of crossing the Ferry Street Bridge from
south to north in late 2008. In the photo above, we are about halfway
across the bridge. The photo below is a view of the landing on the
north end of the structure.
The photo above was taken from Chandler Park, located about a half mile
downstream from the Ferry Street Bridge. The photo below was taken from
Peninsula Point Park, about 1,000 feet downstream of the bridge, near
where the Rum River flows into the Mississippi River.
The photo above is a view of the downstream face of the bridge on a
bright sunny fall morning in 2008. The photo below is a close view of
the main span taken from the same location. Notice the pattern that
light reflecting off of the water forms on the concrete.
The photo below is a view of the piers from under the south end of the
bridge. The photo below is a view of the south end of the bridge. The
first arch span is smaller than the river spans. This allows for a trail
to be run under the bridge.