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Highway 61 bridge dedicated in Hastings

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HASTINGS — The new Highway 61 bridge over the Mississippi River in Hastings was dedicated at a ceremony here Friday morning.

The new bridge is just the third in the city’s history. It has four lanes and is the longest freestanding tied-arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere. The entire span is 1,938 feet.

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Hastings’ first bridge was the iconic Spiral Bridge, constructed in 1895. A two-lane bridge replaced it in 1951, eventually becoming the most heavily traveled two-lane bridge in Minnesota. It carried more than 30,000 vehicles a day.

The new bridge was pushed through after the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in 2007. It was originally planned to be sent out for bids in 2015, but that timeframe was moved up after the collapse.

Several dignitaries delivered speeches at City Hall during Friday’s dedication, including U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Rep. John Kline, state Sen. Katie Sieben and state Rep. Denny McNamara. Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks delivered a speech, as did Dakota County Commissioner Mike Slavik and representatives from the contractors and Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Murals under the bridge, made by Twin Cities artist Craig David, were also unveiled.

All four lanes of the new bridge opened for traffic a week ago.

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