Dan Patch Swing Bridge

Through Truss Swing Bridge over Minnesota River
Savage, Scott County, Minnesota
Bloomington, Hennepin County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Dan Patch Swing Bridge
Built By Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern Railway
Contractor Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Currently Owned By Canadian Pacific Railway
Length 555 Feet Total, 250 Foot Main Span
Width 2 Tracks, 1 In Use
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Through Truss and I-Beam
Substructure Type Concrete, Steel Pile and Timber Pile
Date Built 1908, Approaches Rebuilt 1985
Traffic Count 1 Train/Day (Estimated)
Current Status Used Sparingly
Significance Regional Significance
In 1910, the Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester & Dubuque Electric Traction Company built a 37 mile route between Northfield and 44th Street in Minneapolis.
A second route would be constructed in 1915, connecting Auto Club Junction (along the Minnesota River) to West Minneapolis.
These two routes became a part of the Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern Railway in 1918.
The MNS was a small local freight hauler in the Minneapolis area. It served independently until 1982, when it was purchased by the Soo Line.
In 1984, Canadian Pacific Railway gained complete control of the Soo Line. Unfortunately for this route, the major connections of the Milwaukee Road, Chicago & North Western, Rock Island and Chicago Great Western all sold or removed their area trackage.

Currently, Canadian Pacific owns the route between West Minneapolis and Lakeville, although Savage to Lakeville does not operate. The bridge across the Minnesota River is owned by the Twin Cities & Western Railroad, and Progressive Rail owns the tracks between Lakeville and Northfield.

This swing bridge was one of the rare swing bridges in the state of Minnesota, and an even more rare combination swing bridge.
The bridge was built in 1908 to carry dual tracks across the Minnesota River, a navigable river.
However, the double tracked line never came to fruition and the remaining track sat unused, eventually being turned into a road in 1910.
The road was a toll bridge between Savage and Bloomington, connecting Vernon Avenue to Normandale Boulevard.
The bridge contained a main span that is a Pratt Through Truss Swing Bridge, with a pair of 5-panel riveted Pratt Through Trusses.
The original approaches consisted of wooden trestle. The remaining substructures were concrete and steel.
However, due to the road salt put on the bridge, the road deck deteriorated quickly and was closed permanently in 1982. The salt also damaged structural steel components, and rotted the approaches.
The approaches were replaced with steel girders on wooden piers in 1985.
In the 1990s, the Twin Cities & Western Railroad acquired trackage rights to the bridge.
However, the bridge has been locked in open position since 2003. In 2011 and 2015, the bridge was repaired significantly, and its intended to be placed back in use to access the Savage Grain Terminals.

The bridge has also been a subject of debate regarding the reopening of the roads, which Savage supports and Bloomington does not.
The bridge has been repaired and reopened. The author has ranked this bridge as being regionally significant, due to the unique design.

The photo above is an overview.

Minnesota River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Chaska Swing Bridge
Downstream Mendota Swing Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Construction of Route
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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