Phelps Mill Bridge (Bridge L0885)
History and significance
Bridge L0885 is a two-span Pratt steel pony truss that carries Phelps Mill Road over the Otter Tail River in Otter Tail County. Bridge L0885 is currently a pedestrian bridge. Bridge L0885 was constructed in 1907 by the Security Bridge Company to carry Township Road 970. The bridge is located within the National Register-listed Phelps Mill Historic District. It features cast-in-place concrete abutments. The deck and curbs are sawn timber and the railings are a combination of the original steel angle railing supplemented with steel cables.
Bridge L0885 served an important role in the function and commercial success of the mill by providing access to Phelps from farms on the west side of the Otter Tail River. The bridge facilitated ongoing commercial activities associated with the Phelps Mill and the Phelps Store by linking markets on both sides of the Otter Tail River. The Pratt truss bridge is also significant as being constructed by the Security Bridge Company, a notable firm in the history of bridge-building in Minnesota.
The bridge underwent a complete rehabilitation in 2012, funded in part by grants from the Federal Highway Enhancement Grant Program and the Minnesota Historical Society’s Capital County and Local Preservation Program. Work included substantial repairs of the existing concrete abutments, complete replacement of the existing pier, new timber deck and curbs, and cables added along the railing for added safety. A simple concrete median barrier was added at the approach to the bridge to restrict access to pedestrians only. Rehabilitation costs came in lower than anticipated and there was broad public support.
Maine Township (Otter Tail County)
Latitude, Longitude: 46.38020313, -95.82134416