|Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
The I-35W Bridge On Christmas
A Look At The I-35W Saint Anthony Falls
Bridge Lit Up In Holiday Red And Green
For Christmas, December 25, 2012
The new I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge features an innovative LED lighting
system where each LED element is individually addressable, allowing any
color in the spectrum to be displayed. On most nights, the bridge is bathed
in a eerie blue glow that looks like something out of a science fiction movie.
However, the bridge is occassionaly lit up in other colors for special
I generally travel over the Christmas holidays, but in 2012, I happened to
stay in town (the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul), so I was able
to visit the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge to see it lit up in red and
green to celebrate the holiday. Unlike last year, where we had warm
temperatures throughout December, this year was cold with quite a bit of
snow on the ground. That made for a cold walk down to the bridge. Since
my fingers were really cold, I didn't take the time to use a tripod for
long exposure photos. Rather, I used high ISO to get fast hit and run
type of photos. As a result, they are a little less sharp than some of the
other I-35W light shows that I have photographed. This also required lower
F-stop settings, which leads to depth of field issues where things in the
background get blurry.
The photo above is looking northwest towards the downstream face of the
I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge. The vantage point is the bicycle trail
as it passes under the nearby 10th Avenue Bridge.
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used without written permission.
The photo above is the downstream side of the north abutment. From this
close view, one can see the yellow-orange area between the red and green where
the two colors overlap. The red light in the background is the Gold Medal
Flour sign high above the Mill City Museum. The photo below is the east
face of the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge as seen from the bicycle
trail leading down to West River Parkway. Note the oncoming traffic
under the bridge heading southbound on West River Parkway.
This photo is another view of the downstream face of the bridge looking
north across West River Parkway. The Mississippi River flows between
the two sets of main bridge piers about 40 feet below our elevation at
this vantage point. The photo below is a closer view of the south
main bridge piers.
The photo above is the north main bridge piers as seen from the south side
of the Mississippi River. The light system was having problems earlier this
summer in the section located north of the north main bridge piers. The
lights are functioning correctly in this view, so those problems appear
to have been corrected. The photo below is looking down the length of
the east face of the structure as seen from the north side of West
The photo above is looking north across the Mississippi River directly
under the east edge of the bridge traffic deck. The row of LED light
panels located along the edge of the bridge structure is visible from this
angle. The light shines towards the bridge beams, lighting the underside
of the deck and the outside face of the beams. The main bridge piers are
light from the ground level. The photo below is looking north across the
Mississippi River as seen from directly under the gap between the two
parallel bridge spans. There is an observation deck located at the base
of each set of bridge piers, but only the south observation deck is open
to the public.
These two photos are views of the upstream north face of the I-35W Saint
Anthony Falls Bridge. MN-DOT tends to keep this side blue following the
opening of the nearby Memorial Garden in honer of the 13 who died in the
collapse of the previous bridge. The photo above is from the sidewalk
along West River Parkway. The photo below is a closer view from amongst
the brush along the bluffs leading down to the river between the parkway
and the Lower Saint Anthony Falls Lock & Dam. Note the red and green
segments of light under the bridge deck. These lights mark the river
navigation channel for boats exiting the lower boat lock.
These two photos are views of the downstream east face of the structure as
seen from the old railroad yard on top of the river bluff on the north side
of the Mississippi River. The photo above is taken from the edge of the
cliff leading down to the river flats, while the photo below is taken under
the 10th Avenue Bridge near 2nd Street SE. This view is only possible during
the winter months when the trees have lost their leaves.
The photo above is the north bridge abutment and secondary span at the north
end of the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge. The vantage point is the
University of Minnesota access road that runs along the old railroad
road bed leading to the Stone Arch Bridge. The photo below is the view
looking west from Northern Pacific Bridge #9, with the unlit 10th Avenue
Bridge showing up as a dark shadow blocking much of our view of the
I-35W Bridge, but allowing for some nice reflections off of the icy
surface of the Mississippi River.