Home | History | Bridge Engineering | Tour Map | Celebration Schedule | MPLS Riverfront District Links

Stone Arch 3rd Avenue Merriam Street Hennepin Ave. & East Channel    
  Nicollet Island RR Boom-Nicollet Ped Other Bridges Lost Bridges  

Third Avenue Bridge (1918-present)

Bridge type:Concrete deck-arch bridge

Construction of the Third Avenue bridge, showing falsework, 1917
This 2,223-foot-long span was originally called the St. Anthony Falls Bridge, as it is built over the upper portion of the St. Anthony Falls Dam. Its alignment follows a shallow reverse S-curve in order to avoid fractures in the limestone bedrock supporting the bridge piers; it has the distinction of being the largest concrete arch bridge on a reverse curve. Much of the design work was done by Minneapolis city
engineer Frederick W. Cappelen, who was responsible for a number of other local bridges and other structures, including the Cappelen Memorial (Franklin Avenue) Bridge. Construction of the $650,000 bridge used techniques which were state-of-the-art for the time, including the placement of water-tight cofferdams within which the bridge piers were poured. The concrete arches were formed against “falsework,” which supported and shaped the arches and then were removed after completion. A number of modifications have been made to the bridge over the years, including a major renovation in 1979- 80.  

See more images of the Third Avenue Bridge

Construction of Third Avenue bridge, showing arches after falsework has been removed, 1917
Third Avenue bridge viewed from west bank; Exposition Building (1887-1940) prominently visible on the east bank, ca. 1923


Third Avenue bridge viewed from east bank; flour mills and Stone Arch Bridge visible at left rear, ca. 1925
Third Avenue Bridge viewed from the Stone Arch Bridge

Third Avenue Bridge viewed from Main Street in front of St. Anthony Main