I’ve put together a video of what it was like to drive the southbound lanes of Highway 100 in the fall of 2014, just before the impending removal of four historic bridges that mark what was once the first freeway in Minnesota. These bridges are being removed as part of a current construction project that will fully rebuild the stretch of Highway 100 between just north of Minnetonka Blvd and just north of Excelsior Blvd, which has previously escaped full-scale reconstruction. You can find more detailed info and photos at the previous blog post here
Just a warning – the video has been severely motion-stabilized, so unless you want to have an acid flashback, don’t look too closely at the clouds. The accidentally Gary Numan-esque song is an old demo of mine that I enlisted as a soundtrack. More videos of Highway 100 to come!
Jeff Wulke was kind enough to share the following photos of what is now Chisago County Road 30 (former MN 361, U.S. 61) between Rush City and Pine Creek, where crews have temporarily stripped away the asphalt to reveal the historic original concrete pavement from the 1920’s!! The concrete was poured back in 1927 as part of the first paved highway between the Twin Cities and Duluth, and was covered when the road was widened and rebuilt in 1954. As you can see from the photos, the old road is in remarkably good condition. This stretch was recently turned back to county authorities after remaining under state jurisdiction as State Highway 361 for many years after I-35 was built to fulfill a legal obligation dating back to 1921 to have a trunk highway passing through the city limits of Rush City, which has since been expanded to encompass I-35. Many thanks again to Jeff for the photos!!
MnDOT has recently released the list of construction projects for this year. From the looks of it, its going to quite a headache getting around this summer. You can take a look for yourself by following the link to MnDOT’s page here. I suggest taking a look to see if any highways in your area are up for reconstruction or realignment this year, and if so, you might want to get out and take a few quick shots before they’re changed / gone forever.
A few projects along U.S. 61 (a highway that you all probably know I’m a bit obsessed with at the moment) caught my eye. A three-mile section of Highway 61 north of Tofte along the north shore will be reconstructed this year. Also, four bridges near Dresbach (on the duplex with I-90) will be replaced.
Hopefully you fellow road geeks out there were able to catch Cathy Wurzer’s new documentary on Highway 61, “Tales of the Road” on Monday Evening. If not, they’ll be replaying it this Saturday (March 28) at 8 PM. Its a must-see for anyone into highway history!
A companion book is also available (yours truly is cited in the references and internet resources!!) Cathy will be doing several guest appearances / book signings around the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota through the end of April – I’m sure she’d love to meet all of you hear any highway stories you have to tell! If you can’t make it to any those events, a podcast of her appearance at the University of Minnesota Bookstore will be available in a week (disclosure: I produce the podcast for the bookstore, just to clear up any potential conflicts of interest, don’t worry – its free!).
In other news, I’m currently working on finally replacing my old 91 Honda Civic. My wreck has lasted longer than I could have imagined, but I can’t have it preventing me from getting out on the road this summer, there are just too many old roads to see!
Update – 8/1/2009 – It turns out this information is false, Highway 16 is still signed between La Crescent and the Wisconsin State Line.
It has come to my attention that State Highway 16 has been truncated at its junction with U.S. 61 and U.S. 14 in La Crescent. It had previously duplexed with these two routes to the Wisconsin State Line, continuing as Wisconsin State Highway 16 into La Crosse. The state routes on either side of the border were created in the wake of the retirement of U.S. 16 back around 1979.
Have any readers from from the La Crescent/La Crosse area noticed this change? I assume it occurred as part of the recent reconstruction of the junction. For comparative purposes, see the pictures from 2006 and from 2007 .
MnDOT has released images of the three proposed designs for the replacement of the U.S. 61 bridge over the Mississippi River at Hastings. These include a single tied arch (similar in appearance to the old bridge), a dual box girder crossing (like the new 35W bridge in Minneapolis), and a single cable bridge. Although I like the idea of the tied arch to maintain the appearance of the crossing, I think the dual box girder design makes more sense in terms of cost and logistics. I wouldn’t even consider the cable bridge, as I really hate how it looks, especially in the context of Hastings’ historic downtown.
I came across this little article on Boston.com about the state of Vermont ordering towns to claim their historic road right-of-ways, or lose public access to them.
Looks like the state of Vermont has a problem on its hands. Perhaps they should have kept better track of right-of-ways? Now if only Minnesota needed someone to do this for them….