This bridge is an example of a large cantilever truss bridge, a structure type that is rapidly becoming rare in the United States due to demolition and replacement. The bridge is a good, traditionally composed example of a cantilever truss bridge. The trusses retain good historic integrity with no major alterations. The deck however has been altered. The original railings were lost and the sidewalk moved to the outside of the east truss by adding a cantilevered sidewalk. This allowed for converting the original sidewalk inside the truss lines into part of a wider roadway. The deck replacement project which took place in 1985 led to the loss of the original railings. Outlined in the original plans, the original railings are of interest, because they take on a style that was immensely popular in the state of Michigan and province of Ontario, as well as other Canadian provinces. For the most part, only these two places used this railing style, but a few isolated examples have been found in other nearby states including Minnesota, Indiana, and Ohio... suggesting perhaps neighboring states borrowed ideas from the states around them.
For a while, this bridge was at risk for demolition. However, the Section 106 Review appears to have done some good, and currently the cantilever truss spans of this bridge are slated for rehabilitation. A new bridge is proposed to be built next to the historic bridge, forming a one-way couplet of bridges. HistoricBridges.org hopes that MNDOT will continue to move forward with this rehabilitation plan. The only bad news is that the plan is to demolish and replace the deck truss spans of this bridge. While they are not as significant as the main cantilever spans, these deck truss spans are character defining features of the bridge, meaning the bridge will not look the same with them replaced, and the bridge will lose some historic significance by the loss of these spans. Its not entirely clear why these deck truss spans could not be preserved. They may have more deterioration than the through truss spans because trusses under the roadway tend to get more corrosive winter salt exposure. However, research has shown many ways to restore and repair riveted trusses.
The northernmost deck truss span is quite unusual because the northern end has a polygonal bottom chord and inclined end post at the northern end, while the southern end is not polygonal and has a vertical end post lke all the other deck truss spans. This detail seems to be a design to make the deck truss "blend" into the abutment. The southern end of the bridge does not have this detail because the deck truss spans give way to more approach spans consisting of a deck plate girder span and followed by a series of concrete t-beam spans.
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