The Burwell Drive Bridge is a concrete slab bridge, a style typically only found on shorter spans such as this 45-foot long structure. A concrete slab bridge is built by pouring concrete into a wooden form that is built under the bridge. When the concrete dries, the wood form is removed, leaving the completed bridge. The decorative lines, cast concrete posts, iron railings, and a slight curve in the bridge slab all make for a very graceful looking bridge. The bridge looks much older than its 1980 construction date, which fits perfectly at this very historic spot.
Much of the segment of Burwell Drive located north of the creek follows the historic path of the Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad. The Saint Paul and Pacific ran a line through Minnetonka in the mid-1860s. They built a spur to the Minnetonka Mills in 1869. That spur was abandoned in 1885. The roadbed was subsequently used for wagon traffic, part of which remains in use as the present-day Burwell Drive. A second railroad served the mills following a route on the south side of the creek. That line was built in 1870 by the Minneapolis and Saint Louis Railroad, and abandoned in 1990 by the Chicago and North Western. The route survives as the Southwest LRT regional trail.
The photo above is looking north down the length of the bridge deck. Saint David's Center is on the far side of the Minnehaha Creek.