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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Clearwater Co Highway 117
Mississippi River Highway Crossing
Itasca State Park, MN

Clearwater Co Highway 117

• Structure ID: N/A
• Location: River Mile 1346.7
• River Elevation: 1,467 Feet
• County: Clearwater
• Highway: Clearwater County Highway 117
• Daily Traffic Count: 120 (2007)
• Bridge Type: Precast Concrete Culvert
• Bridge Length: 6 Feet
• Bridge Width: 32 Feet (Estimated), 2 Lanes
• Height Above Water: 5 Feet To Low Concrete
• Date Built: 2001
This location was once a logging dam. The pool on the north side of the road was made deep so logs that drop over the dam have a place to splash down without hitting bottom and creating a log jam. The dam was replaced with a bridge, and later with a metal culvert. The metal culvert had fasteners that held several sections of culvert together. Those fasteners hung down, creating a safety hazard for canoeists. The current structure is a precast concrete culvert. Rocks were placed around the ends of the culvert and cemented into place to stabilize the roadway and prevent erosion during periods of high water.

This is the first highway to cross the Mississippi River. There are no signs, and the river is just a small stream. If you don't know that you are crossing the legendary great river, you might blink and miss it. This structure is not long enough to qualify to be in the National Bridge Inventory, thus, no NBI number. Perhaps the great river deserves better for its first highway crossing, though one has to admit that this is a very picturesque location just as it stands.

Clearwater Co Highway 117
The photo above is a view of the river crossing looking down County Highway 117 from the pavement level. The photo below is a view of the downriver outlet of the culvert. The photo at the top of the page is a profile view of the river crossing.

Clearwater Co Highway 117

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