Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Baudette / Rainy River International Bridge Replacement

Highway 72 / Highway 11

Baudette bridge

Background

Highway 72 / Highway 11 provides access to and from Baudette, Minn. and Rainy River, Ontario. The Baudette/Rainy River International Bridge provides a connection between United States and Canadian full-service, 24-hour Port of Entry facilities. Constructed in 1959, this bridge is reaching the end of its useful life. 

The bridge is currently classified as structurally deficient. Currently, the Baudette/Rainy River International Bridge can support normal weight loads, but is not permitted to carry overweight loads or over-dimensional loads. As a safety feature, bridges are designed with redundancy built into the substructure. This redundancy allows the bridge to continue to carry loads after the failure of any of its components.

The Baudette/Rainy River International Bridge project was included in a master bridge list developed on March 1, 2008 (revised on April 23, 2008) identifying 172 bridges that met criteria established by the Minnesota legislature in Laws of Minnesota 2008, Chapter 152.

What are “general condition ratings?”

According to the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS), general condition ratings describe the current condition of a bridge or culvert. The general condition ratings are an overall assessment of the physical condition of the deck (riding surface), the superstructure (load carrying members such as beams or trusses that support the driving surface), substructures (abutments and piers) or culvert. General condition ratings range from 0 (failed condition) to 9 (excellent).

What is a “structurally deficient” bridge?

The classification “Structurally Deficient” is used to determine eligibility for federal funding. Bridges are classified as structurally deficient if they have a general condition rating for the deck, superstructure, substructure or culvert as 4 or less; or if the road approaches regularly overtop due to flooding. A general condition rating of 4 means that the component rating is described as poor. 

Examples of poor condition include:

  • corrosion that has caused significant section loss of steel support members
  • movement of substructures
  • advanced cracking and deterioration in concrete bridge decks

The fact that a bridge is structurally deficient does not imply that it is unsafe. A structurally deficient bridge typically needs maintenance, repair, rehabilitation or replacement to address deficiencies. To remain open to traffic, structurally deficient bridges are often posted with reduced weight limits that restrict the gross weight of vehicles using the bridges.

The classification structurally deficient is a reminder that the bridge may need further analysis which could result in load posting, maintenance, rehabilitation, replacement or closure. If unsafe conditions are identified during a physical inspection, the structure will be closed.

Where can I learn more about Bridge inspections and ratings?

The MnDOT Bridge Office provides structural and hydraulic leadership for district offices, consultants and other units of government to maintain Minnesota's bridges and structures. You can learn more at the Bridges and Structures homepage, including: inspections, ratings, design, construction and historic bridges.