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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Forest Road 2171 Bridge Ruins
Former Mississippi River Highway Crossing
Near Cass Lake, MN

Forest Road 2171 Bridge Ruins

• Structure ID: N/A
• Location: River Mile 1253.3
• River Elevation: 1,299 Feet
• County: Cass, Itasca
• Highway: US Forest Service Off-Highway Vehicle Road
• Daily Traffic Count: 0 (Bridge Burned In 1975)
• Bridge Type: Wood Trestle
• Bridge Length: 120 Feet (Estimated)
• Bridge Width: 18 Feet (Estimated)
• Height Above Water: 11 Feet
• Date Built: 1926
Forest Road FR-2171 provides access to a campground in Winnie, MN. It crosses the Mississippi River, then skirts three sides of the Third River Flowage. The current road crosses the great river on a 1971 concrete girder structure known as the Third River Bridge.

Prior to the Third River Bridge being built, the forest road followed an alignment about one-half mile to the east of the current bridge. It crossed the Mississippi River on a wooden trestle constructed in 1926. That bridge remained in place after the Third River Bridge opened. The trestle caught fire in 1975 and burned almost to the waterline before collapsing into the river. The bridge debris was later removed from the river to allow canoe traffic to pass the site. The remains of the abutments and pilings are still in place some 34 years later when these photos were taken in May, 2009.

These bridge remains can be accessed using off-highway roads in the Chippewa National Forest. These roads are passable only during the dry months of summer. Due to deep ruts, a high clearance vehicle is needed.

The photo above is a view of the remains looking to the north from the south abutment. The photo below is a close view of the abutment on the north side of the river.

Forest Road 2171 Bridge Ruins
Forest Road 2171 Bridge Ruins
The photo above is the view from the southwest corner of the structure. The photo below is a similar view from the southeast corner of the structure.

Forest Road 2171 Bridge Ruins
Forest Road 2171 Bridge Ruins
The photo above is the view looking south along the approach road. The photo below is the first view of the bridge as you approach from the south.

Forest Road 2171 Bridge Ruins

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