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Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

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Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge


Structure in General

existing [completed]


foot traffic vehicle traffic


  • The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge transports traffic from the mainland to Minnesota Point, a narrow 7 mile sandbar that extends south.
  • Minnesota Point shelters the Duluth-Superior Harbor, one of the largest inland harbors in the world, from Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake.
  • The Duluth Ship Canal was originally constructed in 1871 to satisfy the increasing demand for access to the harbor by large cargo and passenger ships plying the Great Lakes.
  • By the mid-1920s, the gondola system could no longer keep up with the increasing traffic.
  • The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
  • Engineers raised the top span by 42 feet, constructed new towers within the original structure, and added a movable bridge deck.
  • This solution was modeled after a similar bridge and gondola system in Rouen, France.
  • Last overhauled in 1985-1986, the bridge remains one of the Duluth's most enduring symbols and popular tourist attractions.
  • The span is raised either half-way (for small vessels) or to the top of the structure to allow massive freighters, primarily transporting iron ore, coal, and grain, through the Duluth Ship Canal.
  • The superstructure was completed in 1905 and featured a gondola which could transport up to 62 tons at a time, including pedestrians, horses, freight, and later, automobiles.
  • The span was first lifted on March 29, 1930 and is lifted approximately 5000 times per year.

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More Information


Lake Avenue South, connecting Canal Park with Minnesota Point
Park Point
Canal Park

Technical Data

228.00 ft

Involved Companies

Thomas McGilvray

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • National landmark
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