Discover Duluth Redux: Oliver BridgeThere’s a third “interstate” bridge in these parts, and it’s been kept like a secret from those unfamiliar with Duluth’s westernmost neighborhoods.
By: Matthew R. Perrine, Budgeteer News
Originally published May 11, 2007, on DuluthBudgeteer.com.
There’s a third “interstate” bridge in these parts, and it’s been kept like a secret from those unfamiliar with Duluth’s westernmost neighborhoods.
Connecting Gary-New Duluth to the tiny village of Oliver, Wis., is the aptly titled Oliver Bridge.
According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the 91-year-old double-deck bridge (trains on the top, cars on the bottom) spans 1,900 feet and is owned by Canadian National Railway.
In the early 2000s, it was closed for a year for a major retrofitting that replaced its “troublesome” wooden deck with one reinforced by steel.
Like the Wisconsin village it connects to Minnesota, Missabe.com reports that the bridge was named after Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Oliver, who made a name for himself in the Northland when the Oliver Iron Mining Company was formed.
Ken Buehler, executive director of the St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center, said the bridge was built, in part, to service the recently constructed U.S. Steel plant in nearby Morgan Park.
In its heyday, the bridge was equipped with a rotating mechanism that allowed for St. Louis River traffic.
It also included a boardwalk to accommodate foot traffic. (This walkway is still visible, but is missing a great many “planks.”)
Looking forward, Buehler said the Oliver Bridge is being considered for the proposed intercity passenger train service between the Twin Ports and the Twin Cities.
“Discover Duluth” is an ongoing photo essay series by Matthew R. Perrine that highlights points of interest around the region.