Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 61 Hastings Bridge


Orange barrels on a highway

About this project

Building the new Hastings Bridge

The new Hastings Bridge is a 21st century landmark built to be trusted and enjoyed by current and future generations. With a 100-year life span, the new bridge enhances mobility and safety for both the community and the region, and has become part of Hastings’ identity.

MnDOT was able to accelerate delivering the project by almost five years after the Minnesota Legislature passed the 2008 Transportation Funding Package. In order to deliver this major project under an accelerated schedule, a competitive contracting process called “design-build best value” was utilized. Three design-build teams qualified to submit proposals and on June 30, 2010 the contract was awarded to the joint venture Lunda/Ames. You can learn more at MnDOT’s design-build website

For more information on the steps involved in taking a road construction project from concept to completion, go to http://www.dot.state.mn.us/roadconstruction/ittakestime/

Keeping the Community Moving During Construction

As construction proceeded

    • the river crossing will remain open to two-way traffic during rush hours for the duration of the project.
    • access to Historic Downtown Hastings and marinas is open.
    • access to local marinas will be maintained.
    • “get-in-get-out” shortened the amount of time any property was affected.

Check out our frequently asked questions for more details. 

Providing an enhanced experience for travelers and visitors

New bridge features include the following:

    • Four lanes of traffic (compared to two on existing bridge)
    • 12-foot pedestrian/bike path
    • Modern anti-icing system built into new bridge
    • Open public plaza south of 2nd Street
    • Public art display on south abutment wall
    • Scenic overlook incorporated near Levee Park
    • Additional parking beneath bridge
    • New North Loop creates safer traffic flow on/off/around bridge, safe access to trails for southbound pedestrians/bikers and provides safe access to Hastings’ marinas – Hub’s Landing, Captain’s Bay and King’s Cove

Visual quality

This bridge is a highly redundant and robust structure with a 100-year life span. What makes it a landmark are the visual elements, including overall design, lighting, color, public art, railings and public areas near the bridge. Over the course of this project, a Visual Quality Team (VQT) ensured the bridge’s design maintained compatibility and integrity within its natural surroundings and Historic Downtown Hastings setting. Download the most recent Visual Quality Presentation (PDF).

The VQT was led by nationally recognized architect Bradley Touchstone and consists of project staff, representatives from local, state and county government, as well as representatives from the local community. As the new bridge’s design details evolved, they were highlighted in reports and presentations from the Visual Quality Team.
Some of the key design features include:

    • Longest free-standing arch main span in North America
    • Created visual transparency
    • Scale compatibility with Historic Downtown Hastings
    • Public art mural
    • Pier design
    • Railing design
    • Final arch colors selected by VQT with input from the public and local community
    • Functional and aesthetic lighting options  

Public involvement

MnDOT sought public feedback throughout the project’s planning process to seek feedback throughout the project. Project staff was out in the community at formal and informal events. To be notified of future event times and locations, sign up for automatic email updates.

Project background

Why this project? Why now?

The existing Highway 61 Bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Hastings was built in 1950 to replace the historic spiral bridge. The two-lane bridge’s average daily traffic exceeded 30,000 vehicles. While it was safe, it had become functionally obsolete. (The roadway was not wide enough and the clearance was not high enough for today’s traffic.) Also, a mandated annual safety inspection reduced traffic across the bridge to a single lane of flagger-controlled traffic for about seven days each year, further reducing its functionality.

Public involvement

After funding was secured, MnDOT held open houses throughout the project’s planning process in an effort to seek public input on a preferred bridge alternative, and on how to deliver a world class project while minimizing any potential affect to local businesses and traffic. Between May 2008 and June 2009, six open houses were held.

Findings of fact and conclusions (PDFs)

Finding of Fact and Conclusions

Appendix A - Agency Comments and MnDOT Responses
Appendix B - Public Comments and MnDOT Responses
Appendix C - Graphic Figures
Appendices D-F - Additional Documentation
Appendix G - Final Section 4(f)

Complete Finding of Fact and Conclusion Document - 70 MB

Environmental Assessment (PDFs)

Environmental Assessment - 10.7MB

Appendix 1 Figures

Figures 3-7 - 16.2 MB
Figures 8-11 - 16.2 MB
Figures 12a-14b - 16.2 MB
Figures 15-19 - 16.2 MB
Figures 20a-23 - 16.2 MB
Figures 24-26 - 16.2 MB
Figures 27-29 - 16.2 MB
Figures 30-32 - 16.2 MB

Appendix 2 - 2.9 MB
Draft Section 4- 2.5 MB

Full Environmental Assessment - 79 MB

Other Documents

Scoping Study
Traffic Modeling Report