Barge damages Union Pacific bridge over Mississippi River

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A barge struck a bridge that helps the Union Pacific cross the Mississippi River at South St. Paul, Minn.
Steve Glischinski
SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. — No estimate is available on how long it might take Union Pacific to repair a Mississippi River bridge after a barge knocked it out of commission last week.

The bridge is a swing bridge over the river at South St. Paul that a barge struck on the night of Oct. 26, severely damaging the structure. The bridge spans the Mississippi between UP’s South St. Paul and Hoffman Avenue yards, but with the bridge out of service, direct access to Hoffman Yard has been cut off. The bridge is used by yard jobs, trains from UP’s ex-Rock Island "Spine Line," and trains to Superior, Wis.

Some trains that would have used the bridge are detouring north to another bridge, the ex-Chicago Great Western Robert Street Lift Bridge in downtown St. Paul, while others have been rerouted. A yard job has been established to shuttle trains between the two yards via Robert Street.

The barge strike damaged the center pivot support and caused the bridge to list to one side, with parts of the bridge sheared off from the piers. There was no estimate available on how long the bridge will be out-of-service. Union Pacific representatives did not respond to Trains News Wire requests for comment.

The St. Paul Bridge & Terminal Railway built the bridge between 1909 and 1910. It was leased to the Chicago Great Western in 1935. CGW merged with Chicago & North Western in 1968, and the bridge became UP property when it purchased C&NW in 1995. The bridge is 1,275 feet long with a 401-foot swing span.
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