Lafayette Bridge
The Lafayette Bridge is a bridge carrying U.S. Route 52 across the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul. At this point, US 52 is on the Lafayette Freeway. The bridge spans across railroad yards north of the Mississippi, the river itself, and industrial areas south of the Mississippi. The Lafayette Bridge is one of the longest Mississippi River bridges in the Twin Cities. An earlier bridge on Lafayette Street, built in 1905 by C.A.P. Turner, was removed to make room for the Lafayette Bridge. The 1905 bridge spanned the Soo Line railroad tracks, not the river itself. This was an experimental bridge of Turner's design, being a flat slab resting on mushroom-capped columns for support. In the aftermath of the collapse of the I-35W Mississippi bridge in Minneapolis, the Lafayette Bridge was cited as another bridge in Minnesota with insufficient redundancy"a so-called "fracture critical" structure which could collapse with the failure of just a single support element. The bridge nearly collapsed in 1975 after a large crack in a main beam caused a 7-inch (180 mm) dip to form at the road surface. It was temporarily closed to traffic as that damage was repaired. The Lafayette Bridge was already scheduled to be replaced in 2011 before the I-35W bridge collapse occurred in 2007. That event did not impact the replacement schedule, which is still planned for 2011.


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