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Skating the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

2016/7/25 8:39:02

Skating the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge
Photos of me skating on the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth, Minnesota. All of these photos were taken by Kathie Fry the day after the 2000 Northshore Inline Marathon.
In September of 2000 I traveled to Duluth, Minnesota for Northshore Inline Marathon, and one of the things I wanted to do while I was there, was to skate across the Duluth Harbor Aerial Lift Bridge.

This bridge is an internationally recognized symbol for Duluth, and it has an interesting history. It was built in 1905, 24 years after the construction of the Duluth Ship Canal cut off Duluth's access to the Minnesota Point Peninsula (Point Park). The bridge was designed to support a gondola that would hang from the top rail and be dragged from one side to the other. The original structure was modeled after a suspended car bridge in Rouen, France. In 1930, the current drive-across portion of the bridge (the part that lifts in the air) was substituted for the hanging gondola. In 2000, the bridge underwent a major repair and upgrade that cost $5.1 million. For more information about the bridge, see the "Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge" article on the web site of the Minnesota Historical Society

The first six photos below were taken from the Point Park side of the bridge. I started skating in the Canal Park area of Duluth, crossed the bridge, skated about halfway up the peninsula, and turned around to take these photos before skating back across the bridge. The day I was there, the peninsula road had quite a few lumps and bumps and cracks, but at least it had a bike lane. You can skate, bicycle, walk, or drive across the bridge, but there are frequent delays because the drive-across portion of the bridge must be frequently lifted to allow boat traffic to enter or leave the Duluth Harbor. The bridge is not very high off the water, so few boats can pass without first lifting the bridge. /

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