High Bridge (St. Paul)

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Smith Avenue High Bridge
High Bridge and downtown St Paul.jpg
The High Bridge with downtown Saint Paul in the background
Coordinates44°56′00″N 93°06′16″W / 44.93333°N 93.10444°W / 44.93333; -93.10444Coordinates: 44°56′00″N 93°06′16″W / 44.93333°N 93.10444°W / 44.93333; -93.10444
CarriesTwo lanes of MN 149
CrossesMississippi River
LocaleSaint Paul, Minnesota
Maintained byMinnesota Department of Transportation
ID number62090
DesignInverted arch and two half-arches for the main span; eight plate girder spans on the north side
Total length2,770 ft (840 m)
Width54 ft (16 m)
Height160 ft (49 m) (deck)
Longest span520 ft (160 m)
Clearance below149 ft (45 m)
OpenedJuly 1987

The High Bridge is a bridge that carries Minnesota State Highway 149 and Smith Avenue over the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. It was built and opened in 1987 at a cost of $20 million. The bridge carries two lanes of street traffic over the river and is the highest bridge in St. Paul, with a deck height of 160 ft (49 m) and a clearance below of 149 ft (45 m).[1][2]

The current bridge replaced a 2,770-foot (840 m) iron Warren deck truss bridge constructed in 1889. In 1904 the original bridge was partially destroyed by a tornado or severe storm and the southernmost five spans had to be rebuilt. With modest alterations it served for nearly a century, but in 1977 an inspection found irreparable structural deficiencies. The Minnesota Department of Transportation enacted a weight restriction on the bridge until it was closed in 1984 and demolished the following year. The ornamental ironwork on the replacement was built using iron from the old bridge.[3] The first bridge had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and was delisted in 1988.

In February 2008, City Pages, a weekly publication in the Twin Cities, published a feature about the long history of suicide at the bridge. The article included testimony of a survivor who leapt from the bridge.[4]

The bridge closed September 2017 for a redecking project.[5] It reopened to traffic the afternoon of November 21, 2018.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Weeks III, John A. (2014). "Smith Avenue High Bridge". Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  2. ^ Costello, Mary Charlotte (2002). Climbing the Mississippi River Bridge by Bridge, Volume Two: Minnesota. Cambridge, Minn.: Adventure Publications. ISBN 0-9644518-2-4.
  3. ^ El-Hai, Jack (2000). Lost Minnesota: Stories of Vanished Places. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0816635153.
  4. ^ St. Paul's High Bridge: Suicide Hot Spot - City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul) Archived 2013-08-06 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ MNDOT: Hwy 149 High Bridge
  6. ^ Star Tribune: St. Paul's High Bridge reopens after being closed 15 months

External links[edit]