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Minnesota's Historic Bridges
Intercity Bridge

Intercity Bridge

The Intercity Bridge, also known as the Ford Bridge, is located at Mississippi River mile 847.8 above the Ohio River. At this point the river has a narrow gorge nearly 170 feet deep in loose sandstone rock, with 35 feet of sand, gravel and boulders on the bottom. The setting for the bridge is residential and park land, with several notable exceptions. At the southeast corner of the east approach is the St. Paul plant of the Ford Motor Company. Just south and downstream from the bridge is the upper Mississippi River Lock and Dam No. 1, also known as the Ford or High Dam. At the east end of the dam is the Ford hydroelectric plant. The lock is located at the west end of the dam. The bridge joins the southern neighborhoods of the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, linking St. Paul's Ford Parkway on the east bank with Minneapolisís Minnehaha Park on the west.

Aligned on an east-west axis, the Intercity Bridge is a reinforced concrete, open-spandrel, two-rib, continuous-arch bridge, with an overall structure length of 1,523.6 feet. The three main arches each has two five-centered ribs with a 300-foot span; they are flanked by single arch spans of 139 feet each. The ribs are 32 feet apart, center to center. In all the arch spans, floor beams are supported by twin spandrel columns being uniformly 7 feet 3 inches center to center. On the 300-foot spans, the column pairs are spaced 18 feet 2 inches center to center, while those of the 139 foot spans are 15 feet 9 inches center to center. There are six deck-girder approach spans of varying lengths. The out-out deck width is 64.7 feet, carrying a 50-foot roadway and two 6-foot sidewalks.

All piers, except a few of the smaller approach piers, are on solid sandstone. The two middle river piers being each supported on four cylindrical concrete caissons carried to rock about 70 feet below water level. In the larger piers, the upper body is hollow with 2-foot walls, and was constructed as two units, with the open faces toward each other. The two half piers are tied together at the water line by a heavy wall and at the top by the floor beams. Half-columns corresponding to the spandrel columns face the sides of the piers. An interesting point in the reinforcing is the fact that bids originally were taken on a plan of using five structural-steel ribs in each of the 300-foot arch ribs, but reinforcing bars were found to be considerable cheaper and ultimately were used. AU arch ribs were built on steel centering supported on timber towers. Construction was accomplished using an large and innovative concrete plant on the west bluff and a 15-ton cable way of 1,900-foot span, with movable timber towers 135 feet high. In 1972-1973 the deck was rebuilt and widened.

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