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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Old Sauk Rapids Bridge
Former Mississippi River Highway Crossing
Sauk Rapids, MN

Sauk Rapids Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 5947
• Location: River Mile 929.4
• River Elevation: 987 Feet
• Counties: Benton, Stearns
• Highway: 1st Street S
• Daily Traffic Count: 19,000 (2003)
• Bridge Type: Steel Deck Truss
• Bridge Length: 560 Feet, 175 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 30 Feet, 2 Lanes
• Height Above Water: 12 Feet (To Low Steel)
• Date Opened: July 1942
The Sauk Rapids Bridge is one of three deck truss bridges to cross the Mississippi River. That is, a big metal truss holds the bridge up, but the big metal truss is under the roadway rather than above the roadway. The metal structure under the bridge can be seen in the photo above, which is looking west towards the bridge from the north river bank. This type of bridge is considered to be obsolete due to being very hard to inspect and being of a non-redundant design. This is the same type of structure as the I-35W bridge that collapsed in August, 2007. In the case of the Sauk Rapids Bridge, it was closed on October 25, 2007, and it is was removed before the end of 2007.

Losing the Sauk Rapids Bridge is yet another blow to historic preservation. This is a visually interesting bridge of a type that we will not see built again in the future. Motorists, however, have been looking forward to the new bridge for years. The old bridge is narrow, it has no shoulders, only one sidewalk, and it is very busy for a 2-lane bridge.

This bridge was once MN-15. A new MN-15 bypass was built about a mile upstream, complete with a freeway style bridge over the Mississippi River. This bridge later carried 1st Street S. The new bridge at Sauk Rapids connects 9th Ave N south of the river to 2nd Street N in downtown Sauk Rapids.

Sauk Rapids Bridge
The photo above is a view of the east face of the bridge as seen from the regional trail that crosses under the north end of the structure. The photo below is the west face of the bridge, also looking south across the Mississippi River.

Sauk Rapids Bridge
Sauk Rapids Bridge
The photo above is a close view of the river channel spans as seen from the riverbank on the north side of the Mississippi River. The photo below is a view from directly under the bridge looking to the south. Note that the steel appears to be in very good condition and the bridge looks to be well maintained.

Sauk Rapids Bridge
Sauk Rapids Bridge
The photo above is looking south down the length of the bridge deck from the sidewalk at the northwest corner of the structure. The photo below is looking north down the length of the bridge deck from a vehicle traveling northbound across the bridge.

Sauk Rapids Bridge
Sauk Rapids Bridge
The photo above is a profile view of the bridge as seen from a park located on the north side of the river and slightly downstream of the structure. The photo below is the bridge plate.

Sauk Rapids Bridge

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