Should This Bridge Be Saved?

St. Anthony Parkway Bridge in Northeast Minneapolis, Minnesota

St. Anthony Parkway Bridge

I imagine that plenty of people would look at this bridge and see nothing very attractive. I invite you to drive, walk or bike over it and see if your perception of it changes. I crossed over it earlier this evening and was immediately struck by its design and its rustic, artistic beauty. I admit that the visually historic aspect also brought me delight. Yes, I can be a sucker for old stuff. And for preserving parts of our architectural heritage.

This bridge is a five-span, Warren through truss bridge measuring 533.6 feet in length. It was built in 1925 and passes over 24 tracks of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Rail yard. The bridge currently provides one lane of traffic in each direction and a sidewalk on the south side.

While I was photographing the bridge, I saw a gentleman standing on the sidewalk admiring the view of the trains, the tracks and the downtown skyline in the distance. I wonder if he is aware of the future of this bridge. Is he enjoying it while he can?

At this time, it appears to be nearly the end of the road for this bridge. A new bridge, known as the North Town Bridge, is slated to be built in its place during 2011-2012. The construction project for the new bridge will also include approach roadways (St. Anthony Parkway, California St NE and possibly Main St NE) and separate bike lanes.

The current bridge has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also part of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board “Grand Rounds—National Scenic Byway”. Should this bridge be placed on the National Register of Historic Places so that it can become a permanent part of the National Scenic Byway? Is this a bridge you’d enjoy biking and walking over as part of your trip around the cities?

Should this bridge be saved or replaced?

I’d love to know your thoughts.
Feel free to share them by clicking on Leave a Comment below.

Or take the poll:




More on biking, the scenic Grand Rounds, and things to do and see in the Twin Cities:

Soak up the scenery on the beautiful Grand Rounds—Biking in Minneapolis

Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway Home Page—

National Scenic Byways Program—Grand Rounds Scenic Byway Information


List of Truss Types




  1. Flo Walsh says:

    Dear Kate, The bridge is beautiful, I agree, but perhaps because of another bridge that collapsed there in Minneapolis fairly recently, the owners have deemed this bridge non-repairable. Many people may be afraid to use it due to their memories of that recent tragedy.

    Is there anything from the Burlington as to why they are replacing vs. rehabilitating? If you can’t find anything from them, their legal dept. will have the answer on that. Maybe you will be the stemwinder in the new group ” Save our Bridge”, similar to one that formed over the Causeway bridge down in Sanibel, FL. They fought long and hard to keep the old bridge there, but after years of meetings and fundraising, they had a tremendous impact in the design of the new bridge, which is low, without solid sides to mar the view, and very besutiful. All of us in that effort feel that it was a successful conclusion to that effort. Good luck!

    1. designhouse9 says:

      Dear Flo, Thanks for your comments. The bridge is actually owned by the city of Minneapolis and not Burlington. I haven’t yet found information on the design of the future bridge but will continue to research the subject. I’ll update this post as I learn more.

  2. Beth says:

    Hiya Kate,

    I’m not seeing much beauty in this bridge. Perhaps it looks better in real life? I agree that keeping structures from our past is important to provide future generations with perspective. The first priority has to be safety. As Flo said above, perhaps a new bridge could incorporate a similar design theme? I like the idea of bike and pedestrian lanes separate from automobiles as they certainly do not mix well. Benches and trees to contemplate the trains below would be welcome additions, for sure.

    Why is this bridge slated for demolition? Has an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement ) been done?

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