Baudette/Rainy River International Bridge construction complete

Bridge replaces international structure between Baudette, Minnesota and Rainy River, Ontario

October 16, 2020 / 2 minute read
Baudette/Rainy River International Bridge replacement project complete
Image: Minnesota DOT

The Minnesota DOT (MnDOT)—in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation—has completed the replacement of the Baudette/Rainy River International Bridge on Hwy 72 in the city of Baudette, Minnesota and Hwy 11 in the town of Rainy River, Ontario.

The bridge construction began in 2018 to create a safer and longer lasting bridge as well as a safer walkway for pedestrians and shoulders for bicyclists. The contractor for the $39.3 million project is Lunda Construction Co. 

The old bridge is a 1,283-ft, six-span steel truss bridge over the Rainy River, consisting of one lane in each direction with a 5.9-ft-wide sidewalk. It was built in 1959 by Barnett-McQueen Ltd. and links Baudette (Highway 72), and Rainy River (Highway 11). The new 1,350-ft., five-span continuous haunched steel I-girder bridge has one lane in each direction and a 6-ft sidewalk on one side.

"It is the only border crossing for 50 miles in either direction," Joe McKinnon, MnDOT Project Manager, said in a statement. "This portion of the Rainy River is approximately 1,200 ft wide. It is also a popular fishing spot year-round. Construction has been limited during sturgeon spawning times, and provisions were made during construction to allow for fishing boat traffic safety."

According to MnDOT, although both countries partnered in this project, there were differences. The historic consideration of the bridge, a rare example of a Pennsylvania truss, made it eligible in the U.S. for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. By law, the state must inform a responsible government or other entity of its availability for preservation and relocation. However, the U.S. only owns half of the bridge, while Canadian authorities did not consider the bridge as historic.

Demolition of the old bridge is expected to take 3-4 months, beginning in October, weather permitting. Due to winter shut-down and stream bed restrictions, the removal of the old bridge will continue into summer 2021. Work to be completed summer 2021 includes removal of underwater structures; painting girders; installing special surface on concrete; removing the dock wall; and turf establishment.

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SOURCE: Minnesota DOT

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