3 votes

Washington Avenue Bridge


Photo taken by Matthew Lohry in May 2010


BH Photo #166514


While this bridge may look like an historic truss bridge, a look underneath reveals that it is actually a modern concrete slab, complete with intermediate fake stone piers underneath and the incorporation of the original trusses to show some idea of what was here previously. It's nice that the trusses and bracing were retained, but the flooring system was lost completely, rendering the historic value of the original bridge as moot. The trusses are very beautiful and elaborate, with plenty of V-lacing and lattice to keep the eyes busy. The trusses have had identical parts fabricated to extend their lengths to accommodate the longer slab bridge.


Lost Pratt through truss bridge over Washington Ave / Bnsf Rr on Csah 152
Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota
Replaced by new bridge, but original truss system is incorporated into it.
Built 1891
- Streetcar
- Twin City Rapid Transit Co. (TCRT; TCL)
Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 97.1 ft.
Total length: 108.9 ft.
Deck width: 67.9 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.98500, -93.27333   (decimal degrees)
44°59'06" N, 93°16'24" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/478451/4981320 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Minneapolis South
Inventory numbers
MN 6992 (Minnesota bridge number)
BH 45405 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 21, 2015: Updated by Luke: Added categories "Twin Cities Rapid Transportation Co.", "Streetcar", "Railroad", "Rail-and-road"
  • December 30, 2010: New photos from Jason Smith
  • June 1, 2010: New photos from Matthew Lohry
  • May 29, 2010: Added by Matthew Lohry


  • Matt Lohry
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Minnesota Reflections - Image


Washington Avenue Bridge
Posted December 31, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

It is modern engineering to be sure. All our modern computers, construction materials and equipment, and it takes four spans to cross this obstacle. Way back in 1891... they did it all in a single span!

Washington Avenue Bridge
Posted June 1, 2010, by Matthew Lohry

As a note, I added two photos of this bridge before its replacement occurred. The original bridge was a bit shorter than its replacement.

Washington Avenue Bridge
Posted June 1, 2010, by Matthew Lohry

HMMM, would truss bridges that have been modified so that the trusses are no longer functional also fit into this category? The Merriam Street Bridge, just a few blocks away from this one, is an example of this. Not a full bridge replacement, but still a blow to its historic integrity.

Washington Avenue Bridge
Posted May 31, 2010, by J.R. Manning (thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

We could almost add a category for "Modern Bridges Masquerading as Historic Structures."


Well, now I know of two for this category, anyway.

Washington Avenue Bridge
Posted May 29, 2010, by Spanfan

Wow, Matt! I go over that bridge all the time & never realized it wasn't an old bridge. Here I was giving Mpls lots of credit for saving an old span-shows you what I know!