Blatnik Bridge Rehabilitation Project

I-535/Hwy 53 between Duluth and Superior

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Blatnik Bridge







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The new lighting system is completed and is operational.


New lighting system

The Blatnik Bridge is now illuminated in a wash of light, which is accomplished by casting light off the interior of the structure. MnDOT and WisDOT shared the cost to construct the new energy-efficient lighting system.

Rendering of the Blatnik Bridge as it would look with the new Illuminated lighting systerm.


Design Features

  • An almost 60 percent energy savings over the original system
  • Dimmable, programmable LED fixtures can be set to light the bridge as much or as little as desired
  • Reduced number of fixtures and smaller distribution system compared to original system
  • Easier maintenance access to all fixtures
  • Uniform light levels within structure
  • Increased protection from snow and roadway salt spray
  • Reduced glare for motorists








































New lighting system is operational

Final design work on the new lighting system was completed in January 2013. Construction took place in summer 2013 and the system was lit for the first time October 25, 2013.


The lighting design concepts were developed by the Blatnik Bridge scoping team which included WisDOT engineers and representatives from Allete/Minnesota Power. The team considered esthetics, initial cost, operating cost and maintenance, durability and safety in preparing these designs. Comments collected during a public open house on August 29, 2012 and for several days following the open house were overwhelmingly in support of the new Illuminated design.

Outline lights were removed for rehabilitation project

All of the outline lighting fixtures on the Blatnik Bridge were attached to the outside faces of the structural steel and had to be removed to access the areas behind them during the 2012-2013 rehabilitation project.


Roadway and navigational lights

All roadway and navigational lighting on the bridge remained operational during the two-year project. Roadway and navigational lighting systems are essential for the safe operation of traffic on the bridge and for ships using the channel below the bridge.


Lighting replacement team

In 2012 MnDOT formed a team of local and state officials who were interested in the new, energy-efficient LED, lighting system on the bridge. If you would like to learn more about this team please contact Dan Erickson, MnDOT engineer. Thank you to all who participated on this team!




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