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Minnesota's Historic Bridges
Mendota Road Bridge
Description


Mendota Road Bridge

The Mendota Road Bridge, perched on the bank of the Mississippi River across from downtown St. Paul, is a single-span, stone-arch highway bridge that carries a paved road over the outlet of Pickerel Lake. The Mendota Road Bridge is constructed of locally quarried, coursed-rubble, gray limestone, which was frequently used in St. Paul building foundations during the 19th century. The bridge rests on foundations of wood cribbing, which extend beneath the entire width of the stream bed. The bridge's overall width is 24 feet, the roadway is about 19 feet wide. The single semicircular arch springs about 18 inches above grade to create a clear span of 10 feet. Ring stones measure about 6 inches in width and 18 inches in height, with mortar joints 1 inch thick. Bordered by 3-foot high stone railings, the roadway forms a slight, but distinct, apex at the crown of the arch. This "humpback" is repeated in the lines of a string-course marking the roadway level and a coping surmounting the railing. As an ornamental flourish, the keystones protrude slightly from the arch face. Microfiche copies of the original plans for the Mendota Road Bridge, dated 1894, are on file in the St. Paul City Engineer's Office. Original plans show that the coping and string-course were intended to be of the same visual weight, an effect that has been slightly marred by the replacement of the original limestone coping with a concrete cap. Otherwise, the bridge has experienced no apparent alterations, though the limestone is quite weathered.


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