It is interesting to note that this bridge is built from precast
concrete girders, yet has a blacktop surface. The story is that
this was a new concept in building rural bridges where the bridge
needed to go up fast, such as cases where it was not practical to
build a temporary bridge or the detour route was simply too long.
The bridge itself is made out of T-shaped girders placed side by
side such that the horizontal tops of the T's are fit tightly
next to each other. This creates a solid surface. The bridge
is then blacktopped and is ready for traffic. There is no need
to wait for concrete to cure, other than at the abutments and
the tops of the piers. The railings can then be installed after
one lane of traffic is open.
The CSAH-19 bridge is located just a few miles north of Bemidji on the
eastern edge of Lake Bemidji where the Mississippi River exits the lake
and flows towards the Stump Lake Dam. This bridge has the honor of
being the northern most highway bridge to cross the Mississippi
River. The state trail bridge just west of here is at the same
latitude, so both bridges share this feature in common. The
highway 19 bridge replaces the 1915 era Riverside Highway Bridge.
The photo above is looking south down the length of the traffic deck.
The photo below is a view from the northwest corner of the bridge at
traffic level. The photo at the top of the page is a view of the side
of the bridge, also seen from the northwest corner of the structure.