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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
MN State Highway 371
Mississippi River Highway Crossing
Baxter, MN

MN State Highway 371

• Structure ID: NBI 18004
• Location: River Mile 999
• River Elevation: 1,151 Feet
• County: Crow Wing
• Highway: MN Highway 371
• Daily Traffic Count: 8,900 (2004)
• Bridge Type: Concrete Girder
• Bridge Length: 532 Feet, 140 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 83 Feet, 4 Lanes
• Height Above Water: 52 Feet
• Date Built: Started 1998, Opened July 2000
In the 1990s, MN-DOT wanted to build a bypass around Brainerd that would help move traffic from the Twin Cities up into the Brainerd Lakes area without creating a bottleneck in the city of Brainerd. The solution was a new 6 mile segment of MN-371 that would go north to the west side of the city through the suburb of Baxter. Since the road would cut though a very scenic and undisturbed section of the state, MN-DOT felt that it was important to create a visually appealing road with a signature bridge over the Mississippi River.

The consensus is that MN-DOT did a great job with this project. The bridge is an ordinary prestressed concrete girder bridge, but it is dressed up with pillars, stylish piers, concrete accents, art work, and detailed metalwork. It is also proof that a bridge does not have to be overly expensive to be a nice looking structure.

The river water is very brown at this location. The water below this bridge is brown until after the merger with the Crow Wing River, a large river that dilutes the brown tint of the Mississippi, returning the river to its normal blue hue. Heading north, the brown tint is present at Palisade, but once you reach Jacobson, it is pure blue again. The brown tint is caused by manganese, a metal commonly found in the Iron Range region of Minnesota.

MN State Highway 371
The photo above is a view looking south down the length of the traffic deck. The photo below is a view of the east face of the bridge from the north east corner of the structure. The photo at the top of the page is a similar view looking southwest across the river channel from the trail that crosses under the bridge.

MN State Highway 371
MN State Highway 371
The photo above is a view looking south across the river channel from under the bridge structure. The photo below is a view looking south down the length of the regional trail attached to the east side of the bridge.

MN State Highway 371
MN State Highway 371
The photo above is a side view of the north bridge abutment. The northeast bridge tower is visible. The photo below is the northwest bridge tower.

MN State Highway 371

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