Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge

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Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge
Bong Bridge.jpg
Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge from the Duluth, Minnesota hillside looking southwest toward Superior, Wisconsin and Billings Park
Coordinates46°43′53″N 92°08′38″W / 46.73142°N 92.14376°W / 46.73142; -92.14376Coordinates: 46°43′53″N 92°08′38″W / 46.73142°N 92.14376°W / 46.73142; -92.14376
CarriesFour lanes of US 2
CrossesSaint Louis Bay
LocaleDuluth, MN and Superior, WI
Maintained byWisconsin Department of Transportation
DesignTied-arch bridge
Total length11,800 ft (3,600 m)
DesignerAmardo J. Romano
OpenedOctober 25, 1985

The Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge, also known as the Bong Bridge, connects Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin, via U.S. Highway 2 (US 2). Opened on October 25, 1985, it is roughly 11,800 feet (3,600 m) long, including about 8,300 feet (2,500 m) over water.[1] It crosses the Saint Louis Bay, which drains into Lake Superior. The bridge rises 120 feet above the river to accommodate maritime traffic in a 400-foot-wide navigation channel.[2] The Bong Bridge is one of two connecting Duluth and Superior. A through-arch bridge downstream from the Bong -- the John A. Blatnik Bridge -- carries Interstate 535 (I-535) over the water.


The bridge's namesake, Richard Ira Bong, was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II who was named the United States' all-time "Ace of Aces". The designer of the bridge was fellow World War II veteran Amardo J. "Marty" Romano.[3] The bridge was originally to be named Arrowhead Bridge, after the old wood trestle–bascule bridge it replaced.[4]

Construction on the bridge began in 1982, and it was opened on October 25, 1985.[2]

Tied arch spanning the main channel

The bridge is one of the largest public works projects undertaken by the state of Wisconsin. Ayres Associates, an architectural/engineering company based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, managed the project and designed the 1.5-mile (2.4 km) length of approach bridges. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation designed the channel span (tied arch). Its central suspension section is made of Japanese steel.[5]

In 2007, the Bong Bridge won a Wonders of Wisconsin Engineering Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies, Wisconsin Chapter, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary.[6]


The bridge was the scene of a 16-vehicle pile-up on January 27, 2005, in which 10 people were hospitalized and a baby was given an emergency delivery but subsequently died.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bong Bridge facts". Duluth News Tribune. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Weeks, John. "Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge". John Weeks. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  3. ^ "Obituary for Amardo J. 'Marty' Romano". Star Tribune. Retrieved February 14, 2023.
  4. ^ Andrew Krueger (February 19, 2008). "The late, great, Arrowhead Bridge". News Tribune Attic. Duluth News Tribune.
  5. ^ "Roads and Bridges named in honor of Veterans and Military". Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on October 5, 2012.
  6. ^ "Wonders of Wisconsin Engineering" (PDF). Newsletter. Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin. April 2008. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "MPR: Major accident closes bridge between Duluth and Superior". Minnesota Public Radio. January 27, 2005. Retrieved August 25, 2011.