High Bridge (St. Paul)

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Smith Avenue High Bridge
The High Bridge in early spring 2006, with downtown St. Paul in the background
Coordinates 44°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
Carries Two lanes of MN 149
Crosses Mississippi River
Locale St. Paul, Minnesota
Maintained by Minnesota Department of Transportation
ID number 62090
Design Inverted arch and two half-arches for the main span; eight plate girder spans on the north side
Total length 2,770 ft (840 m)
Width 54 ft (16 m)
Height 160 ft (49 m) (deck)
Longest span 520 ft (160 m)
Clearance below 149 ft (45 m)
Opened July 1987

The High Bridge is a bridge that carries Minnesota State Highway 149 over the Mississippi River in St. 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]


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.

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