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 2760 feet
Width 54 feet
Longest span 520 feet
Clearance below 149 feet
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 is a two-lane street setup over the river. The High Bridge has a height of 160 feet (49 m), making it the highest bridge in St. Paul.[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". Retrieved 2015-04-27. 
  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)

External links[edit]