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Broadway Bridge

St. Peter Bridge

   


Broadway Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: June 2, 2013
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Broadway Avenue (MN-99) Over Minnesota River
Location
St. Peter: Le Sueur County, Minnesota and Nicollet County, Minnesota
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1931 By Builder/Contractor: Minneapolis Bridge Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Engineer/Design: Minnesota Highway Department

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
196 Feet (59.8 Meters)
Structure Length
402.3 Feet (122.6 Meters)
Roadway Width
30 Feet (9.1 Meters)
Spans
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
4930

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View The Management Plan For This Historic Bridge

This bridge is historically and technologically significant for two reasons. First, it is an unaltered example of a state designed truss bridge. It retains ornate arch-lattice railing, as well as ornate lighting which is original to the bridge. Original surviving lighting is uncommon. However, this bridge's chief significance arises from its unusual design. The bridge is skewed at the pier, but not at the ends of the bridge as a result of the unusual bend the river made at the point where this bridge was located. To address this, the engineers aligned the pier with the flow of water, to both reduce obstruction to the river, and put less stress on the pier. However, the abutments were not built at a skew. This arrangement resulted in an unusual truss design, where on each span, one truss was 196 feet long and ten panels, while the other truss was 176 feet long and nine panels. To keep the two trusses looking as visually similar as possible, all the truss details were kept the same except at the ends over the skewed pier, where the shorter truss utilizes a vertical end post rather than an inclined end post. For aesthetic purposes, to eliminate the visual appearance as asymmetry, a decorative beam running between the ends of the top chords at the pier was added. This makes the bridge look like a continuous truss bridge, however in terms of its engineering function, it acts a a simple span; the beam is merely decorative and not load-bearing. This bridge is therefore significant for its unusual skewed design, but also for the way in which the aesthetics of the bridge were treated to try to make a skewed bridge look as symmetrical and visually pleasing as possible.

The previous bridge at this location was an 1887 truss bridge that featured a fixed pin-connected through truss span and a swing pin-connected through truss span. A historical photo from 1929 shows that the fixed span collapsed when a heavy truck crossed the bridge. Despite the damage, the bridge was reportedly repaired and moved to the side to serve as a temporary bridge for traffic while the current bridge was constructed.

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Photos and Videos: Broadway Bridge

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