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Rock Island Bridge


Photo taken by Jason Smith


BH Photo #215003


Strengthened in 1939


Abandoned through truss swing bridge over the Mississippi River at St. Paul Park
Inver Grove Heights, Washington County, Minnesota, and Dakota County, Minnesota
Open to pedestrians
Future prospects
Single span preserved in place as a recreational pier
Built 1894; closed to traffic in 1999; swing span plus all but two remaining spans demolished in May 2010; two remaining spans converted into pedestrian pier, which included the addition of truss spans on Dakota side in Nov. 2010, reopened in 2011
- American Bridge Co. of New York (1939 Strengthening)
- Charles Frederick Loweth of Cleveland, Ohio (Chief Engineer/Designer)
- Charles Stone of St. Paul, Minnesota (Substructure)
- F.K. Ketler Co. of Chicago, Illinois (1939 Strengthening)
- Pittsburgh Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Superstructure)
- Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (CRIP (1866-1920); RI (1920-1975) ROCK (1975-1980))
- South St. Paul Belt Railway (SStPB)
Double-decker through truss with swing span: Dakota side consists of pin-connected Pratt truss spans, Washington span consists of the center span, a pin-connected Baltimore through truss with Lattice portal bracing followed by approach spans built using the Vierendeel through truss design.
Length of largest span: 442.0 ft.
Total length: 1,661.5 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 11.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Newport Rail Bridge
JAR Bridge
RI - MIssissippi river Bridge (St. Paul)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.85306, -93.01222   (decimal degrees)
44°51'11" N, 93°00'44" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/499034/4966627 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inver Grove Heights
Average daily traffic (as of 2008)
Inventory numbers
MN 5600 (Minnesota bridge number)
BH 37745 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of January 2001)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • December 17, 2021: Updated by John Marvig: added builder
  • June 5, 2017: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • February 7, 2016: New photo from Luke
  • August 24, 2013: New photos from Douglas Butler
  • March 8, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Corrected builder. Pittsburgh Bridge Co. was missing the "h"
  • August 10, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: Added categories "railroad", "Navigable waterway"
  • April 19, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "South St. Paul Belt Railway"
  • September 27, 2011: Updated by Jason Smith: Added information on the bridge
  • July 2, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: added some preservation info
  • November 25, 2008: Updated by Kim Harvey: added category and alternate name
  • October 23, 2008: Added by James Baughn



Rock Island Bridge
Posted May 29, 2017, by Don Morrison
Rock Island Bridge
Posted May 29, 2017, by Jacob Lennington (simpspin [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Close call with boat that went up in flames beneath it:


Rock Island Bridge
Posted June 16, 2015, by Nathan Holth (nathan [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Looks like the portal bracing from the swing was saved?


Rock Island Bridge
Posted July 2, 2011, by Anonymous

Part of this bridge has been preserved. http://www.johnweeks.com/bridges/pages/b39.html

Rock Island Bridge
Posted November 28, 2008, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Here is some more information about the bridge:


It includes updates of the structure including the recent collapse.

More later


Rock Island Bridge
Posted November 26, 2008, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

A lot of us, including I, have worked on ways to save at least the Dakota Co. side of the bridge and to a certain degree the swing span. However after reading the news story, chances of that happening right now are slim. I'm inquiring more about the incident and will post the latest as it arrives.

Thanks for the news, though.


Rock Island Bridge
Posted November 26, 2008, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thanks for the tip, Carolyn. I am posting a link to an article concerning this unfortunate event.


Rock Island Bridge
Posted November 26, 2008, by Carolyn (susorcar [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Per our local paper, part of this bridge collapsed last week due to a buckled beam. It was going to be preserved as part of a riverside park, but now it's going to be torn down as it's too unsafe to save.