Looking north towards Hastings as traffic travels on both bridges
Looking west from the Hastings’ river bank
I had the unique opportunity to be among the first people to cross the new Hastings bridge and among the last to cross the old Hastings bridge, during the short period of time when the two bridges were simultaneously carrying traffic.
Yesterday evening, Monday, June 3rd, crews shifted southbound traffic onto the new bridge for the first time. This evening, the old bridge will be closed to traffic for good as crews shift northbound traffic onto the new bridge. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there will be a funeral service of sorts for the 1950’s era truss bridge tonight, complete with a bagpiper and hearse.
Being just up the road for the St. Croix Bridge Project, I took the opportunity to travel across both bridges today and take a few pictures like the ones above. It is not every day that we, as foundation designers, get a chance to see this stage of a project. Luckily, I was in the right place at the right time.
A major construction feat was recently completed at the Highway 61 bridge project in Hastings, Minnesota when the 545-foot, 6.5 million-pound main bridge span was hoisted into place, 50 feet above the Mississippi river. The main span, the longest free-standing tied-arch in North America, was constructed on the shore of the Mississippi River, about a mile upstream of the river crossing. Placed on massive dollies, the span was rolled onto a set of six barges and floated downstream. Once positioned under the piers, hydraulic jacks on top of the piers slowly lifted the span into place. Around midnight on Sunday, September 23rd, 2012, the lift was complete. By noon of the following day the span was secured in place and the existing bridge was reopened to traffic. A time lapse video of the entire process can be viewed below or on YouTube.
Links to news stories published about the main span lift: