Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Historic Bridges

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge (Bridge L6116)

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge (Bridge L6116)

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

See features of the bridge

History and significance

The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge is a span-drive configuration movable lift bridge constructed in 1901-1905 and modified in 1929. It is located on Lake Avenue and spans the Duluth Ship Canal, which connects the city of Duluth with Minnesota Point. The bridge was designed by Thomas F. McGilvray and C.A.P. Turner, and constructed by the Modern Steel Structural Company. The original 1901-1905 aerial bridge had a gondola car suspended by an inverted steel tower from the underside of the truss. This truss remains extant as a structural member of the bridge. In 1929 the bridge was modified by adding an elevating roadway to replace the traversing platform, lengthening the steel towers, and incorporating new structural support within the confines of the old towers to carry the counterweight roadway. It is significant as a rare type of bridge engineering and as a resource in the Duluth Ship Canal Historic District.

Rehabilitation activities

Duluth Aerial Lift BridgeSince its modification in 1929 the Aerial Lift Bridge has been rehabilitated four times: in 1986, 1999, 2007, and 2009 with each project addressing different needs. Rehabilitation work has maintained the overall historic character of the bridge. Rehabilitation efforts generally included replacement of the operator’s house, select structural steel elements, the bridge sidewalk, and retaining walls; repairs to the abutments, deck grating, machinery, superstructure, and lighting system; bridge cleaning and painting; and guardrail.


City of Duluth (St. Louis County)
Latitude, Longitude: 46.77898660, -92.09290579

Bridge features

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

Design and construction of a span drive

configuration movable lift bridge.

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

Setting within the Duluth Ship Canal Historic District.