|Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography|
The I-35W Bridge Detour
Photo Tour Of The I-35W Bridge Detour
Traveling Southbound Via 10th Avenue
The official marked detour for I-35W following the August 1, 2007, bridge
disaster followed I-94 and MN-280. While the marked detour was an
excellent option, it was also fun to use the old highway and cross the
river on the 10th Avenue Bridge. This allowed sidewalk superintendents
to check out the progress on the building of the new Saint Anthony Falls
Bridge. This path followed I-35W to the Washington Avenue exit,
Washington Avenue to 10th Avenue, a brief jog onto 4th Street, and then
back onto I-35W.
In this photo tour, we follow that path from north to south, noting
interesting signs and highway features along the way. Note that many
of these photos were shot looking directly into the sun, so the contrast
may suffer a bit.
Note—these materials are covered by copyright and may not be
used without written permission.
The photo above is the start of our journey. We are on MN-36 in
Roseville, Minnesota, headed westbound towards I-35W. We have just
passed the Rosedale Mall, and are now passing a strip of businesses
including the Hummer automobile dealer. The orange sign informs
motorists that I-35W is closed, and suggests that people driving
towards the University of Minnesota or the Metrodome use the MN-280
In the photo above, we are crossing the overpass over I-35W, which makes
a rather sharp turn under this bridge. We will join the main I-35W lanes
just after this overpass. The two orange signs remind motorists that I-35W
traffic should use the MN-280 detour.
In the photo below, we continue south on I-35W towards the bridge disaster
site. MN-280 has just branched off of I-35W. In fact, you can see some
workers on the right side of the photo who are doing maintenance work on
MN-280. The orange sign informs motorists of a temporary park and ride
lot at exit #22. Metro Transit added a number of bus routes and parking
lots to help accommodate traffic during the time that I-35W was closed.
In the photo above, we are on I-35W headed southbound past the village
of Saint Anthony. This is one of the best views of the downtown skyline,
especially at night.
In the photo below, we continue south on I-35W, passing the Quarry
shopping center. The big orange sign notes that I-35W is closed
and the freeway ends one and a half miles ahead. Note the lack of
traffic in these photos.
How would you like to reserve your own personal freeway that nobody else
is allowed to drive on? That seemed possible for a brief period of time
on I-35W north of downtown Minneapolis. The photo above is the Broadway
Street overpass. The signs state that both the right and left lanes
end. That doesn't leave many options. Actually, the far left and far
right lanes end, leaving the center lanes for traffic. The photo below
is a pedestrian walkway. Prior to this sign, we knew that I-35W would
end. Now, we know where. 4th Street and University Avenue is the last
interchange before the Mississippi River bridge that collapsed.
Did you happen to notice something interesting about the bridge in the
photo above? Notice the location of the bridge pier and the bridge
girders. It appears that the pier does not carry most of the girders.
This is somewhat of an optical illusion. There are actually two bridges,
the first a highway bridge, the second a railroad bridge. They run at
slight angles to each other. As a result, the pier for the highway
overpass is out of the photo, and its girders appear to be suspended
in mid-air. The railroad bridge pier is a bit further in the distance,
so its pier is in the photo.
The photo above is the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway main railroad
line bridge over I-35W. This busy railroad connects the BNSF Intermodal
Yard (where they handle containers) and the Central Avenue and Riverside
Yards in north central Minneapolis. The large yellow sign warns that the
freeway is coming to an end, and that motorists should slow down.
The photo below is the 8th Street overpass over I-35W. We are near
the point where I-35W ends north of the river. Orange barrels are
slowing closing off lanes and pushing traffic to the right edge of the
In the photo above, the I-35W freeway lanes are closed, and traffic is
forced onto the 4th Street exit ramps. Motorists have the choice of
taking 4th Street to the right towards the area north of downtown, or
go forward a block and turn left towards the University of Minnesota.
The second choice gives access to the 10th Avenue Bridge. That bridge
has been covered on the northbound trip, so we end our journey here.
The photo below is turning from the I-35W frontage road onto eastbound
University Avenue. The new Saint Anthony Falls Bridge is directly to the
south of this overpass. Workers are scrambling to finish the bridge in
time for the contractor, Flatiron, to get the maximum bonus for early
completion of the project.