Cultural Resources opens Mississippi River Bridge!

July 12, 2019

Crowd gathers in front of Winona Bridge to cut ribbon at grand opening
The official view of the governor (holding ribbon) and Winona Mayor Mark Peterson (holding giant scissors), who is also the recently retired director of the Winona County Historical Society and an avid bridge preservationist. Photo courtesy of PostBulletin.

Okay, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz actually opened the bridge. But Mead & Hunt Cultural Resources staff joined in the grand opening and ribbon cutting. The rehabilitated historic Winona, Minnesota, Mississippi River Bridge 5900 opened Monday, July 1.

Both the historic bridge rehabilitation and a parallel new river span have been Mead & Hunt projects for the Minnesota DOT since planning began in 2009. I’ve been on the project from the beginning, joined recently by fellow historian Sebastian Renfield. We are both based out of our Minneapolis office.

The 1942 historic cantilever through-truss span received a complete rehabilitation, in large part because it is a fracture-critical span. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Mead & Hunt Cultural Resources team worked with MnDOT engineers to develop plans in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

Aerial of Winona Bridges over water
The rehabilitated 1942 historic truss and the new 2016 span, crossing the Mississippi with downtown Winona in the background. On the other side of the river the bridge heads into Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of PostBulletin.

Mead & Hunt staff also provided guidance in the design of the new parallel bridge, which opened in 2016. The parallel bridge allowed the historic span to be closed for extensive repairs, including replacement of all 21 approach spans.

Since 2016, Mead & Hunt Cultural Resources staff and MnDOT have conducted on-site construction monitoring to handle the inevitable construction questions about historical design details.

Working with MnDOT on this extensive project has greatly strengthened our client relationship and our ties to the community. The historians working on this project live in Minnesota, myself included. It is extremely rewarding to get the chance to give back to our state. This historic bridge is now ready to continue serving the city of Winona for years to come.

Bob Frame, Historic PreservationABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob Frame sees history in our everyday industrial buildings and landscape. Specializing in industrial and engineering history, Bob has spent his career learning about bridges, grain elevators and flour mills. “It is often the technical details that reveal the most interesting story and lead us to understand the importance of these resources,” he says.

Read more posts by Bob Frame