Main Channel Bridge (Winona)

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Main Channel Bridge
Main Channel Bridge.jpg
Coordinates 44°3′27.0″N 91°38′23.5″W / 44.057500°N 91.639861°W / 44.057500; -91.639861Coordinates: 44°3′27.0″N 91°38′23.5″W / 44.057500°N 91.639861°W / 44.057500; -91.639861
Crosses Mississippi River
Owner Minnesota Department of Transportation
Design Steel cantilever bridge / Concrete box girder
Total length 2,288 Feet
Width 31 Feet: 2 automobile lanes (cantilever span) / 50 Feet, 4 inches: 2 automobile lanes plus pedestrian/bicycle path (concrete box girder span)
Longest span 138 m
Construction start 1941 (cantilever span) / July 2014 (concrete box girder span)
Construction end November 1942 (cantilever span) / August 2016 (concrete box girder span)
Opened November 21, 1942 / August 27, 2016

Main Channel Bridge (Winona) consists of a pair of bridges, the original cantilever bridge, and a concrete box girder bridge completed in 2016, that span the main channel of the Mississippi River in the United States between Winona, Minnesota and Latsch Island. Another bridge, the North Channel Bridge, connects the island to rural Buffalo County, Wisconsin. The bridge carries Minnesota State Highway 43, which continues as Wisconsin Highway 54 at the Minnesota/Wisconsin state line on the nearby North Channel Bridge; in Winona, it connects to Winona Street.

Construction on the original cantilever bridge was started just before the U.S. entered World War II, and the construction was hastened to finish in November 1942, despite labor shortages, difficulty obtaining materials, and high water. It was built in 1941-1942 by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

On May 17, 2008, the United States Postal Service announced that the bridge would be on the Minnesota sesquicentennial commemorative stamp.[1]

Following an inspection of the bridge's gusset plates, it was announced by MnDOT that the bridge would close June 3, 2008. Gusset plates were the components suspected in the collapse of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge. The bridge was expected to be closed for several weeks with over 60-mile-long (97 km) detours as an alternative.[2] The bridge reopened on June 14, 2008.

After considering a number of alternatives, including rehabilitation of only the original bridge, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced on August 23, 2012 it had approved plans to build a new two-lane concrete box girder bridge, prior to rehabilitating the original bridge.[3] Construction of the new bridge began immediately upstream of the cantilever bridge in July 2014, and opened for traffic in August 2016. Following the opening of the new bridge, the original cantilever bridge closed for rehabilitation. The entire project is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.[4]

New Winona Bridge under construction
Historical "wagon bridge" at Winona. (1892)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United States Postal Service. Minnesota’s Sesquicentennial Honored. May 16, 2008.
  2. ^ Winona bridge over Mississippi River closed. Star Tribune. June 3, 2008.
  3. ^ MnDOT recommends second Mississippi River bridge in Winona. Pioneer Press. August 24, 2012
  4. ^ "Hwy 43 Bridge - Winona". Minnesota Department of Transportation. 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2017. 
  • Costello, Mary Charlotte (2002). Climbing the Mississippi River Bridge by Bridge, Volume Two: Minnesota. Cambridge, MN: Adventure Publications. ISBN 0-9644518-2-4. 

External links[edit]