Unfortunately the lack of maintenance on bridges like this is not uncommon...the Madison-Milton Bridge is soon to be demolished for much of the same reason. The narrowness is something that is hard to overcome. A shame for both these beautiful spans!
Demolition begins this morning. Sad scene in Hastings. I'll miss the old bridge, but I won't miss the traffic jams and narrow lanes.
Admittedly the old bridge is cool, but the new one is as well. It's too bad we couldn't have both.
True, the blue bridge is of a dying breed. I guess I was basing my opinion more on the fact that it was left to decay (not the designer's fault, of course). The view would have been great had you not had to concentrate on staying in those narrow lanes, too.
Sorry, but I'm pretty certain that the vast majority of us on this site would tend to disagree with you Carolyn.
The new arch may well be unique, but the character and graceful design of the historic bridge is much more magnificent in my book.
Sorry, but I won't miss Big Blue. I think Big Red is magnificent & unique!
The days of Big Blue are officially numbered. The new tied arch bridge will open to traffic on 4 June which will feature a memorial for the old 1951 bridge. It will then be dismantled piece by piece. The bridge is expected to be gone by the end of the year. See article:
Say good-bye to Big Blue in Hastings. The Big Red Bridge is now in town and the old one will come down.
I drove over the bridge a few days ago. The new one appears to be a tied arch. But unlike any others I've seen, the cables supporting the deck are crossing diagonals. It will be nice to have more lanes over the river, but the old truss arch will be missed.
From the Official MnDOT Project Website:
All four lanes open to traffic tenatively by the end of 2013, with construction completed spring, 2014
According to the webcam and the October 11, 2011 project update, construction is ongoing.
It was a link on the wiipedia page so it may have been rather old.
I would not be surprised if the date was pushed back since the state recently had a government shutdown resulting in contractors pulling out of construction projects. When I was there in August this year, there was little to no work done on the bridge. Given the current economic problems the state- let alone the country- has, I would not be surprised if the new bridge is delayed by a year or so.
BTW Luke, where did you find out about the date being pushed back by 4-5 years and are there any reasons for that?
2019? I thought they bumped it up to around 2014/2015 because of the old bridge was deteriorating too quickly:
"Update—as of Spring 2008, MN-DOT has determined that the Hastings High Bridge is at the end of its life. The bridge has structural problems that are no longer economically feasible to fix. This includes a lot of rust, and a structure that has shifted enough to shear off bolts."
Scheduled to be fully replaced by 2019.
This bridge is the busiest two-lane bridge in the Twin Cities Metro area (MN) and it's on the fast track to be replaced beginning in 2011.
This public domain image shows the Spiral Bridge on a postcard from the era. This was the only spiral bridge built in the United States - two others reportedly were built in Europe. There is a high bluff on the north side of the Mississippi River. This requires a long approach from the south in order to span the river at proper height and reach the bluff. The spiral allowed the bridge to terminate in downtown Hastings.
Drivers would enter the bridge in Hastings and make one complete circle before crossing the bridge. As it reached the end of its useful life, it was limited to 4 tons. After the new bridge was built, the city of Hastings did not have funds to restore and maintain the bridge, so it was lost.
The citizens of Hastings felt they lost a great landmark, and a replica has been built in a nearby park.