Historic Bridges in Minnesota
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State Hwy 11 over the Rapid River in Lake of the Woods County

Bridge 5557 in Lake of the Woods County.


Bridge number: 5557

Year built: 1950



When the Programmatic Agreement (PDF) was being developed, it was hoped that Bridge 5557 would be able to be preserved. It was recognized as an important example of a concrete arch bridge with high aesthetic value. It was believed throughout most of the design process that the bridge could be rehabilitated; therefore, a management plan was completed. An important aspect of the management plan was the development of an appropriate railing, one that met both modern safety standards and replicated, as much as possible, the bridge's original railing design. This was accomplished by using AASHTO standards instead of Mn/DOT standards for design speeds and railing openings. A design exception was obtained, the first for a historic bridge rehabilitation project. 


It was determined, however, in final design that the original concrete arch simply could not be strengthened enough to support modern heavy loads. It was agreed between FHWA, SHPO, and MnDOT that the Faribault Viaduct would be preserved in lieu of Bridge 5557. However, because of the important developments for railing designs, it was decided the management plan should be presented here, as it may have application on other historic bridge projects.