Minnehaha Creek Trail Bridge

Deck Plate Girder Bridge over Minnehaha Creek
Hopkins, Hennepin County, Minnesota

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Name Minnehaha Creek Trail Bridge
Built By Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority
Length 52 Feet Total
Width 2 Tracks
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Plate Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1900
Date Removed 2019
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge has been Removed)
Current Status Replaced by a pedestrian bridge
M&StL Bridge Number 5
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date March 2019
In 1871, the Minneapolis and Saint Louis (M&StL) began building a line from Minneapolis to a point just south of Carver, a distance of about 30 miles.
The line crossed the Minnesota River at Carver on a large wooden bridge. By 1877, the route would continue to Albert Lea, forming a mainline between two large markets.
However, to the north the line had some issues. Coming down the grade into the Minnesota River Valley was difficult, and the route saw massive trestles and sharp turns that were tough to maintain.
In 1901, a correction was made for this area, known as "Chaska Hill". A project was undertaken to eliminate all trestles and fills.
At the same time, the M&StL purchased the Iowa Central Railway, which had built from Albert Lea all the way to Peoria, Illinois.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the M&StL was oftentimes in poor financial condition. A series of proposed mergers fell through, keeping the struggling railroad alive.

By the 1950s, the route had regained some footing in the Minnesota and Iowa railroad market. A sizable system meant there was some attraction of merger to the road.
In 1960, the Chicago & North Western Railway purchased this line in what would become the first of several large railroad mergers.

In 1983, the line was abandoned from Montgomery to Waseca due to the purchase of the parallel Rock Island line. In 1986, the line from Hartland was sold to Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern.
In 1991, the line from Chaska to Hopkins was abandoned, and the section to Minneapolis followed in 1994. This became a trail, now known as the Minnesota River Bluffs Trail between Hopkins and Chaska.
By 1995, the C&NW would be purchased by Union Pacific.

In 2007, following a trestle collapse, the line from Merriam Junction to Chaska was abandoned, and intended to be used for trail.
In 2011, the section from Albert Lea to Hartland was abandoned. This was intended to become a trail as well.
One last segment remains between Waseca and Hartland, and it is owned by DM&E, a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific.
A portion from Chaska to Minneapolis remains a popular trail, and the segment from Chaska to Merriam Junction is currently abandoned.
Future plans for the route include construction of a Light Rail transit between Minneapolis and Eden Prairie.

This bridge was a small, yet historic Deck Plate Girder structure in Hopkins. It was located just east of Blake Road.
While the bridge is a simple dual span, it was made more characterized by the stone abutments it sits on.
No builder can be traced for the bridge. At the end of the bridges life, it served the highly popular Cedar Lake Trail.
As of 2019, the bridge had been closed and was demolished and replaced with a prefabricated bridge as part of the Southwest Light Rail project.
After considerable review of documents, the author found no evidence that a section 106 review on this bridge was carried out. As a historic property that will be adversely affected through the use of federal funds, the author believes that the HCRRA has overlooked the history of this bridge.
The bridge sat directly next to the TC&W Bridge over the same creek.

The author ranks this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date ICC Valuation Summary Report, courtesy Doug Harding collection
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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