Virginia Bridge In Virginia, MN – Walk, Hike or Bike Across On The Paved Mesabi Trail

Virginia Bridge

The yet-unnamed bridge was opened to the public on September 15, 2017. It is the tallest bridge in the state, at just over 200 feet tall. It spans the Roucheleau mine lake, a former iron ore mine that has partially filled with groundwater. The paved Mesabi Trail crosses this bridge, connecting Virginia and cities west with Gilbert and cities east.

Pedestrian/Bicycle Access

Access the Virginia Bridge via the Mesabi Trail by taking the Second Ave exit from Hwy 53 into Virginia. Follow Second Ave to the corner of Chestnut Street, turn right. Parking is available in front of the greenspace. on the north side of Chestnut Street. The paved Mesabi Trail crosses Chestnut at this point; head south (right) to access the trail. It is approximately eight-tenths of a mile from the start of the trail to the east side of the bridge. Pedestrians and cyclists share this trail. 

Motorized Access

The Eveleth-Virginia snowmobile spur trail crosses the bridge. Snowmobiles and pedestrians are expected to share the trail in winter. There is currently no legal ATV trail on the bridge, however, this is something that is being developed. When this happens, ATVs will be expected to use the south half of the trail, with pedestrians and cyclists sharing the north half of the trail.

Interesting Facts

This bridge was built because way back in the 1960s, Hwy 53 was built on land owned by a mining company. As the mine expanded, the state of Minnesota was forced to move the road. This massive project required 200,000 cubic yards of rock excavation, 1 million cubic yards of common excavation, 63,000 tons of asphalt and more than 800,000 pounds of steel bar. More than 10 million tons of steel were set on the bridge piers.