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CP - La Crescent Swing Bridge

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Photos 

Photo taken by Doug Connell

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Map 

Street Views 

Facts 

Overview
Pratt through truss bridge over Mississippi River on Canadian Pacific Railway
Location
La Crescent, Houston County, Minnesota, and La Crosse County, Wisconsin
Status
Open to traffic
Future prospects
Eventually going to be replaced by a lift span
History
Built 1901, Swing Span scheduled for replacement
Builders
- American Bridge Co. of New York (Fabricator of 5 140' spans)
- Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania (Swing Span Fabricator)
Railroads
- Canadian Pacific Railway (CP)
- Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (MILW; CMStP&P; CMStP)
- Dakota, Minnesota, & Eastern Railroad (DME)
- Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad (ICE)
Design
40'7" Deck Plate Girder
2-164'2" Pratt Through Trusses
248' Parker Through Truss
359' Swing Span
75' Deck Plate Girder
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 359.0 ft.
Total length: 1,055.0 ft.
Also called
SOO - La Crescent Swing Bridge
DM&E - La Crescent Swing Bridge
IMRL - La Crescent Swing Bridge
MILW - La Crescent Swing Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.83272, -91.28179   (decimal degrees)
43°49'58" N, 91°16'54" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/638143/4854728 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
La Crescent
Inventory number
BH 52350 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 8, 2017: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • October 27, 2015: Updated by Luke: Added builders
  • November 24, 2013: Updated by John Marvig: Bridge is NOT in Wisconsin
  • October 2, 2013: New Street View added by Brent Tindall
  • June 24, 2013: Photo imported by Dave King
  • June 9, 2013: Updated by John Marvig: Added information
  • July 27, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • May 3, 2012: Added by Frank Hicks

Related Bridges 

Sources 

Comments 

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted October 4, 2015, by Thomas Klemko (tkklemko [at] gmail [dot] com)

John thanks for your feedback I also received input from Eric Washburn the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District in St. Louis, MO. Here is my DRAFT list of all rail Bridges that cross the St Croix and Mississippi river along the Wisconsin/Minnesota boarder:

Rail Bridge crossings of the St. Croix River listed below:

1. Soo Line High Bridge - Maintained by CNR

2. Union Pacific Railroad Swing Bridge - Maintained by UPR

3. BNSF Railway Lift Bridge at Prescott - Maintained by BNSF

4. Hudson Swing Bridge - Maintained by UP

Rail Bridge crossings of the Mississippi River listed below:

1. La Crosse Rail Bridge – Maintained by CP

Is this an accurate list, do I need to add, delete, change Names or edit?

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 30, 2015, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The only existing and active bridge crossing the Mississippi is this structure, as well as the two eastern bridges.

I do not know the current structure numbers, but I know the other two between this bridge at the Black River Bridge were rebuilt in 1902 and 1998.

This bridge is Milwaukee Road Bridge #L-6, built in 1902

The next bridge east is Bridge #L-4, built in 1998

And the French Slough Bridge is Bridge #L-2, built in 1998 as well.

Former crossings include Reeds Landing, and two at Winona.

Rail Bridges
Posted September 30, 2015, by Thomas Klemko (tkklemko [at] gmail [dot] com)

I am attempting to obtain the following information:

1.Exact number and name(s) of all rail bridges that cross the Mississippi river along the Wisconsin/Minnesota boarder.

2.Exact number and name(s) of all rail bridges that cross the Saint Croix river along the Wisconsin/Minnesota boarder.

If anyone can provide me the above data it would be appreciated.

Thank You

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 30, 2015, by Thomas Klemko (tkklemko [at] gmail [dot] com)

I am attempting to obtain the following information:

1.Exact number and name(s) of all rail bridges that cross the Mississippi river along the Wisconsin/Minnesota boarder.

2.Exact number and name(s) of all rail bridges that cross the Saint Croix river along the Wisconsin/Minnesota boarder.

If anyone can provide me the above data it would be appreciated.

Thank You

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 24, 2015, by Thomas Klemko (tkklemko [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nathan

Thanks for the direction to the article “Presidential Elections and Historic Bridge Preservation and your website. This is a great article and provides awesome responses and solutions. I support the position that bridge “age” is not a problem, if an old bridge is properly maintained in good condition it can still be safe and functional. In fact this beautiful and magnificent Bridge is a testament to that belief. In my history review an analysis on this bridge and supportive statements made in the U.S. Coast Guard, Bridge Administration Division Abstract, it appears that the original swing bridge was constructed in 1786 and replaced a ferry boat that ran from La Crescent to Minneapolis.

However, this bridge currently displays enhancement needs and ongoing attention. One of my intentions with this bridge is to validate the current structural analysis status, existing steel integrity issues, concrete structural foundation and the future identified enhancement projects for the La Crescent Rail Bridge. Obtaining this information as well as the ongoing routine maintenance efforts is difficult (An Act of God). This request for information has also been a challenge for others as displayed in the numerous articles reported in various counties and states throughout the country.

I hope the grassroots efforts initiated in Lacrosse and La Crescent can address these challenges and create an open communication process and an avenue to obtain necessary information.

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 23, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Railroad truss bridges rarely have widespread section loss or pack rust compared to highway bridges... however I believe fatigue issues are a possible concern.

The swiftest way to resolve any problems with the bridge in my opinion would be to repair the existing historic bridge in a way that does not diminish the historic elements of the bridge. Any proposal to replace the swing span, which I assume is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places would trigger a Section 106 Review to consider all feasible and prudent alternatives to the adverse effect of demolition of this historic resource. Any adverse effect tt is found not feasible and prudent to avoid would also require mitigative measures and a memorandum of agreement, all of this developed in cooperation with a lead federal agency (such as the coast guard) the state historic preservation office, and consulting parties.

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 23, 2015, by Thomas Klemko (tkklemko [at] gmail [dot] com)

John thanks again for your shared knowledge and response.

I recently initiated communications and efforts for my clarification requests on the La Crescent Swing Bridge and the La Crescent road bridge to: local officials, Minnesota House/Senate representatives and La Crescent representatives since the beginning of mid July to today.

So far I am very pleased and encouraged with the receptiveness, responses and feedback. Below I have provided a small baseline of just some of the individuals involved in this communication process.

Wisconsin Senate

Sen. Baldwin- Wis.

Minnesota Senate/House Representatives

Sen. Amy Klobuchar - Mn.

Sen. Jeremy Miller - Mn.

Sen. Al Franken - Mn.

Rep. Tim Walz - Mn.

Rep. Greg Davids - Mn

La Crescent, Minnesota City Representatives:

M. Poellinger - La Crescent Mayor

S. Wetterlin - City of La Crescent

B. Waller - City of La Crescent

Houston Count Historical Society

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Recently I received the 2015 Bridge LB4586 Inspection Report, which addresses the bridge over the road way in La Crescent.

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 23, 2015, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thomas,

As a senior in high school with my engineering school yet to come, I can provide some elementary understandings of the condition it is in. The knowledge I have gained is from years of doing this. Visually, it does have issues. As you mentioned spalling on substructures is a sign of deterioration, however is also easily fixed. Regarding the steel, I saw no signs of advanced corrosion or pack rust; although small microscopic fractures may still exist.

Operationally, both the railroad and coast guard hate this bridge. The single track design is an extreme bottleneck for the railroad; while the narrow channel is a pain for navigation.

If you're concerned about the bridge, bring it to your local officials. Because this bridge is significant, they may have inspection records. If you do find these, please post them here. I would be curious to see them.

In addition, to those with an engineering background, please correct me on any information I am incorrect on. It's the best learning method :-)

-John

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 23, 2015, by Thomas Klemko (tkklemko [at] gmail [dot] com)

John thanks so much for sharing your bridge knowledge and taking the time to respond to my response.

As the bridge is in operational processes on a day to day basis I hold a different view on its existing condition until I can review a current analysis report on the rail bridge over the river. As you indicated in your prior response the bridge will be fine if the bridge is receiving routine maintenance and attention.

In my review I believe that there are several "Structural Unit Elements" that require attention and enhancements. One can visibly see spalled and deteriorated concrete and cracks on the structural bridge support pillars. It would be important for me to view a structural analysis report that addresses steel integrity issues, concrete structural foundation and the visible enhancement needs of this Bridge.

My attempts and efforts are to obtain such information and to also clarify several areas identified that need additional clarification and follow-up in the very valid but aged "Alteration of the Canadian Pacific Railway Drawbridge Over the Upper Mississippi River, La Crosse, Wisconsin Under the Provisions of Truman-Hobbs Act" I agree with your analysis on this abstract as well.

Again Thank You

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 23, 2015, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thomas,

I'm not exactly sure where this bridge falls for priority. It's a critical line for oil and freight to and from Chicago. However, it depends on who's paying for the replacement (and it probably won't be the railroad). If it's paid for by the coast guard (who is the only ones who want it replaced, due to the navigation channel), it may be a while. It's behind Clinton, Iowa and likely Dubque, Iowa for replacement due to narrow navigation channels. However, the railroad intends to double track the bridges here and further up the river at Hastings within the next few decades, so it may happen then..

-John

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 23, 2015, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Yeah...It looks pretty solid to me John! I hope they go with the plan that retains the swing span while adding a new lift span.

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 23, 2015, by Thomas Klemko (tkklemko [at] gmail [dot] com)

Good information. Thanks for that response. It appear that you have some substantive information referencing this rail bridge. Do you have a list or action plan that addresses the priority of bridges that require more needed enhancements. I would like to see where this bridge falls into receiving attention as far as identified date(s)as compared to the rail bridges that are of higher focus of need and that are higher up on this list.

I have completed a review of the Abstract of the bridge "Over the Upper Mississippi River, La Crosse, Wisconsin Under the Provisions of Truman-Hobbs Act", that you provided in a pervious comment. Do you have any knowledge or documents relating to the follow-up activities or"Action Plan" identified, since the development of this aged report. Thanks

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 23, 2015, by John Marvig

The bridge is actually sound, and in good condition. It won't fall down as long as it receives maintenance. It's not the highest priority though, as it isn't falling apart or in critical condition.

-John

La Crescent Swing Bridge
Posted September 23, 2015, by Thomas Klemko (tkklemko [at] gmail [dot] com)

What is the "Action Plan" developed to change and address this Rail Bridge. Is the established time period to wait until the Rail Bridge falls down. This proposed replacement plan has been established for over 10+ years!!!!

La Crosse Railroad Bridge
Posted June 9, 2013, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Check out the options for a lift span

http://www.heavymovablestructures.org/assets/technical_paper...

The swing span and a lift span back to back?! Its got my vote!