Milwaukee Road Bridge
|Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Milwaukee Road Mississippi River Crossing
|• Structure ID:
|River Mile 813.7.
|• River Elevation:
|Canadian Pacific Railroad.
|• Daily Traffic Count:
|28 Trains Per Day (Estimated).
|• Bridge Type:
|Vertical Lift Bridge.
|1,755 Feet Overall, 324 Feet Longest Span.
|• Navigation Channel Width:
|• Height Above Water:
|• Date Built:
The first bridge at this location was built by the Milwaukee Road in 1871
as a swing bridge. It was designed by engineer James Warren, famous for
the Warren style truss. The bridge was located at this spot to carry rail
traffic that travels the west side of the Mississippi River back to the
east side of the river to enter Saint Paul at Dayton's Bluff.
The Milwaukee Road replaced the century old swing bridge with a vertical
lift bridge in 1981. What looks like an old beast of a bridge is actually
a relatively modern machine. The rail line is now used by the Canadian
Pacific Railroad. The Amtrak Empire Builder also crosses the Mississippi River
here on its way between Minneapolis and Chicago, only to cross back to
the east side in La Crosse.
The photo above was taken from just downstream of the bridge looking
north and west. The Hastings High Bridge is just upstream from this
location. Even though it has been many years since the Milwaukee Road
operated trains, the Milwaukee Road logos are still proudly displayed on
the top of each of lift towers.
The above below shows the lift bridge in relation to the downtown riverfront
in Hastings. The view is looking northeast from a vantage point on the south
riverbank located just upstream of the bridge. The photo below is looking
east from the park along the access road to Lock & Dam #2. The lift
bridge is located downriver from the Hastings High Bridge.
The photo above is a view looking through the bridge towards the east from
a local city street in Hastings. The photo below is a view looking to
the south as the tail end of a grain train crosses the bridge. This river
crossing is heavily used. It is not uncommon for a second train to pull
up and wait to cross while another train is crossing the bridge.
The photo above is a view from the edge of the river just north of the
bridge. Notice the huge metal counterweights hanging under the top of
each tower. The photo below is a close view of the lift span. These
very hefty structural members appear to have been built to last.
These two photos are views from a crisp clear fall morning in late 2008.
The photo above shows a small grain train heading northbound across the
Mississippi River. The photo below is a wide angle view of the entire
I visited the Milwaukee Road Bridge again on an early June morning in 2011.
These two photos are views of the truss spans at the north end of the
Mississippi River main channel. The photo above is looking northeast towards
the shaded side of the bridge, while the photo below is looking northwest
towards the sunny side of the structure.
The photo above is looking north along the east face of the Milwaukee Road
Bridge. The photo below is looking northwest towards the downstream face
of the lift span. The Hastings High Bridge is located in the background.
The photo below is a close view of the south main bridge pier. The lift
span is to the right of the pier. The photo below is the bridge tender house
located above the railroad deck at the center of the movable truss span.
The photo above is a detail view of the north main bridge pier. The photo
below is the equipment room located at the top of the north bridge tower.
The motors that move the bridge are located in this equipment room, and
a similar room at the top of the south bridge tower.