Old rail bridge at Ramsey Mill Pond closed due to safety concerns

(ABC 6 News) – The old railroad bridge that extends over the Cedar River at Ramsey Mill Pond has been closed to the public indefinitely due to safety concerns.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, along with Mower County, said the bridge is deteriorating, with some of the wooden planks stretching across the bridge developing large holes.

The bridge also doesn’t have railings on either side, and the overall structure is showing signs of needing rehabilitation or replacement.

Conservative estimates for repair or replacement of the bridge total more than $500,000. Officials plan to conduct further studies on the bridges deficiencies and safety concerns to determine the depth of work required to reopen the bridge.

This bridge is part of the former Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad railbed that crossed the Cedar River and was built in the early 1870s with horse-drawn graders and manpower. Before railway service was stopped on the railbed in 1980, it was Minnesota’s oldest railroad system in operation.

In August 1911, the Southern Minnesota Railway replaced a wooden crossing with today’s bridge made from steel. Concrete abutments holding up the bridge were created about six months before that.