Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge
Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record
BH Photo #114812
The bridge spans the Duluth Ship Canal, which was dug in 1870 through the sand bar that routed the Saint Louise River further south and east before opening into the lake. The sand spit, commonly called "Park Point" by locals, named Minnesota Point, allowed ships to avoid Superior WI while still getting from the river to Lake Superior. This also turned the peninsula into an island. Ferries worked - but not during icy winter.
In 1892, John Low Waddell designed a high lifting vertical lift bridge. The War department did not approve so Duluth did not get to build it. But the design was modified and built in Chicago as the South Halsted Street Bridge. Thomas McGilvray, a city engineer, drew the plans for the structure that was built, apparently inspired by a similar traveler type bridge, the Rouen Transporter Bridge across the Seine.
By the late 1920, the bridge was not keeping up with demand. The upgrade began in 1929, adding lifting span with a automotive deck. The fix span across the top had to be raised to allow room for the lifted span, so the towers straight vertical sections were added. In addition, significant structure was added within the towers to accommodate the counterweights and lifting mechanism. The rebuilt bridge first lifted for a vessel 1930 Mar 29.
- Vertical-lift through truss bridge over the Duluth Ship Canal on Lake Avenue in Duluth
- Duluth, St. Louis County, Minnesota
- Open to traffic
- Opened as a transporter bridge in 1905; reconstructed as a vertical-lift bridge in 1930; rehabilitated 1986, 1999, 2007, 2009
- - Claude Allen Porter Turner of Lincoln, Rhode Island
- Harrington, Howard & Ash of Kansas City, Kansas & New York, New York (Lift Bridge Designer)
- Thomas McGilvray of Duluth, Minnesota
- - Duluth Street Railway (DSR)
- Duluth-Superior Transit Co. (DST)
- Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 385.8 ft.
Total length: 501.7 ft.
Deck width: 24.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 18.1 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 22, 1973
- Also called
- Duluth Aerial Bridge
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +46.77903, -92.09292 (decimal degrees)
46°46'45" N, 92°05'35" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 15/569245/5181008 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Average daily traffic (as of 2008)
- Inventory numbers
- MN L6116 (Minnesota bridge number)
NRHP 73002174 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 36674 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- Inspection report (as of November 2016)
- Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 49.5 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com
- April 14, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
- January 9, 2018: New photo from Douglas Butler
- December 24, 2017: New photo from Dana and Kay Klein
- August 13, 2017: Updated by Fmiser: Added more info about the earlier transporter bridge
- May 22, 2017: New photo from Dana and Kay Klein
- May 21, 2015: Updated by Luke: Added categories "Duluth- Superior Transit Co.", "Streetcar", "Railroad", "rail-and-road"
- February 4, 2015: Photo imported by Dave King
- June 26, 2014: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Transporter Bridge"
- June 25, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
- December 6, 2013: New Street View added by Luke Harden
- July 1, 2013: New photos from Steve Conro
- November 22, 2011: New photo from Steve Conro
- November 24, 2009: New photos from Jason Smith
- June 6, 2008: New photos from Historic American Engineering Record
- Historic American Engineering Record
- Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
- Steve Conro - sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com
- Douglas Butler
- Zenith City - Image
- Dana and Kay Klein
- Fmiser - fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com
- Richard Doody