This bridge located near the small town of Courtland, MN, was built to
connect highways that run parallel to the Minnesota River. That includes
US-14 on the north side of the river and MN-68 on the south side of the
river. Two very short county highways connect the bridge to the larger
highways. On the north side, Nicollet County Highway 24 is about 1 mile
in length. On the south side, Blue Earth County Highway 45 is about a
third of a mile.
The highway 24 and highway 42 bridge is a modern steel girder bridge with a
concrete highway deck. It has the older style guard rails with openings to
the side. These guard rails are considered to be obsolete since debris
and salty slush on the bridge deck can easily end up in the river. The
bridge has 4 main piers and two abutments, both made of reinforced
concrete. These structures support three spans of 123 feet in the
middle, and one span of 95 feet on each end. The bridge steel sits about
30 feet above typical water levels with the river typically being 3 to
5 feet deep in this area.
While I was not able to find any information about previous bridges at
this location, this bridge is certainly not the first Minnesota River
crossing near Courtland. In fact, a ferry boat crossed the river at
this location as early as 1854.
The photo above is a view looking north across the Minnesota River down the
downriver east side of the highway 24 and highway 45 bridge.
The photo above is looking north down the length of the bridge deck towards
Nicollet County from the center of Blue Earth County highway 45. The photo
below is looking west towards the downriver east face of the highway 24 and
highway 45 bridge from the south bank of the Minnesota River.
These two photos are from the spring flood of 2010. The photo above is
looking north down the center of the bridge, while the photo below is looking
along the downriver east face of the structure. The bridge was not
underwater during the flood, however, the water did submerge the lower part
of the bridge pier arms.
These two photos are plates attached to the bridge. The photo above is a
dedication plate, while the photo below is the standard MN-DOT bridge plate.