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Minnesota Highway 95 Underpass

Recycled Turntable Through Plate Girder Bridge over MN-95
Stillwater, Washington County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Minnesota Highway 95 Underpass
Built By Northern Pacific Railway
Contractor American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By Minnesota DNR
Length 130 Feet Total, 92 Foot Span
Width 1 Track, 2 Trail Lanes
Height Above Ground 14 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through Plate Girder and Trestle
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Timber Pile
Date Built Ca. 1912, Relocated Here 1967
Original Location Unknown Turntable
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is a Trail)
Current Status Rails to Trails
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1870, the Stillwater and St. Paul Railroad connected Stillwater, Minnesota to White Bear, Minnesota; a distance of 13 miles.
In 1899, the route became a part of the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad. The Stp&D became part of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1900.
Northern Pacific operated this route as a short spur to a river town on the eastern edge of the state. It was never extended.

In 1970, the NP merged with rival Great Northern and partner Chicago, Burlington & Quincy to form Burlington Northern.
In 1996, the BN merged with Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe to form BNSF. BNSF never operated this route, but instead leased it to the Minnesota Zephyr, a passenger train.
Unfortunately, this arrangement did not work out and the entire railroad was abandoned in 2012. It is now part of the Browns Creek Trail.
08/18/21


Much is unknown about this bridge. It crosses MN-95 just north of Stillwater.
It appears this bridge is a former turntable. There is a historic photo showing a different girder span.
An official Northern Pacific document lists the build date as being 1967. However, if this is the case, this bridge must be a relocated turntable, with a ca. 1912 date (as listed in the National Bridge Inventory). It is unknown where this turntable would have come from.
The bridge runs at a substantial skew. It is a dangerous bridge due to the curve, traffic and narrowness.
Despite this, the Minnesota DNR decided to keep the bridge in use for trail users.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the turntable.
The photo above is looking from MN-95

Citations

Source Type

Source

Build Date 2014 National Bridge Inventory
Build Date Northern Pacific Bridge Book, provided by Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele



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