Selby Avenue Bridge

St. Paul, Minnesota

1890 bridge  (demolished 1992)

1890 bridge (demolished 1992)

In 1992, when City of Saint Paul engineers expressed their desire to replace the 100-years-old Short Line overpass with “something more than a bump in the road,” they hired me to design its detailing.

The materials of the original overpass were stone, steel, and wood. The 1,100-foot span of the new bridge is built of steel and concrete, with railing and surface treatments linking its design to the structure and ornament of the former overpass. The rusticated pattern of the concrete abutments closely follows the dimensions of cut-limestone blocks for the original structure. Where the deck begins, the steel railings double in scale to embrace the surrounding cityscape. Beneath the deck, a thirty-inch-tall band of former railway names suggests the rhythmic speed of passing trains and wraps the Selby Avenue Bridge with an unbroken ribbon of local history.

Bridge deck  central arch and railing

Bridge deck central arch and railing

Deck railing

Deck railing

Southwest abutment

Southwest abutment

Deck sidewalk  with railing shadow

Deck sidewalk with railing shadow

East abutment  below deck

East abutment below deck