Duluth’s Abandoned Interstate Bridge

Duluth’s Abandoned Interstate Bridge

This is what remains of the Interstate Bridge between Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin.  It has been converted to a public fishing pier.

Built in 1897, the Interstate Bridge was the first bridge to span the bay. Prior to 1897, the only way to quickly travel between Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin was to take a ferry.

Interstate Bridge went through a whole series of changes and modifications to handle the changing transportation demands of the times. Originally it was a rail bridge with two parallel rail lines, and a wooden roadway for horse-drawn wagons was suspended off the side. The remaining portion of the bridge shown above constitutes two-fifths of the original bridge. Beyond the truss portion of the bridge shown above there was the main swing-span portion of the bridge, which could rotate 9o degrees to allow ships to pass, and on the other end, two more sections like those shown above, a truss bridge connected to the shoreline by an approach bridge made of wooden pilings. Later, the bridge became a toll bridge when automobiles began to overwhelm the crossing with traffic.

This bridge was used until December 21st, 1962, when the swing span was locked in the open position. It was demolished in the 1970s. Read a lot more about this bridge via John Weeks.

There is a public boat ramp right between the two bridges.

Above: Blatnik Bridge, also commonly referred to as the High Bridge by locals. It replaced the Interstate Bridge.  In 2016, a Minnesota man lost control of his vehicle and went over the guardrail of this bridge, landing 40 feet below on an approach road. Luckily, the accident happened before he was over the water.

Check out another Duluth area bridge — the Aerial Lift Bridge in Canal Park.

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media

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