Skip navigation

Lafayette Bridge

Donated by Lunda Construction and Minnesota Department of Transportation
Original Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Built: 1968
Girder fracture in 1975
Replaced in 2014 due to old age and condition

Structure Type: Plate Girder Bridge
Longest Span Length: 362 feet
Total Bridge Length: 3366 ft
Deck Width: 61.4 ft

The Lafayette Bridge was opened to traffic in 1968. It carried U.S. Route 52 across the Mississippi River, the railroad yards north of the river, and the industrial areas south of the river near St. Paul, Minnesota. It was a fracture critical structure that could collapse due to the failure of a supporting element.

In 1975, the east girder on the southbound bridge fractured. This caused a 7-inch dip in the roadway. The fractured girder was jacked back into place and bolted together with splice plates. The cause of the fracture was a fatigue crack that started in a weld between a lateral gusset plate and a vertical web stiffener.  

The Minnesota Department of Transportation and Lunda Construction partnered together to donate the bridge specimens to S-BRITE in June 2015. 

Figure 1. Shiplap bearing and expansion joint


Figure 2. 12-feet deep girder sections with repair of fatigue fracture