MnDOT looking for a buyer for the historic bowstring Kern Bridge

The 189-foot single-span bowstring arch bridge was built in 1873 and is the longest bridge of its type in the country.
Updated: Jul. 23, 2020 at 6:52 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The historic bowstring Kern Bridge just outside of Mankato was dismantled in February.

Now that the bridge is in storage, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking for a buyer.

The 189-foot single-span bowstring arch bridge was built in 1873. It’s the longest bridge of its type in the country and served as a historic site near Mount Kato Ski Area.

The historic bowstring truss Kern Bridge, one of Minnesota's oldest bridges, has been stretching across the Le Sueur River since 1873.

New owners will be required to provide a 20% match toward the rehabilitation and re-list the bridge on the National Register of Historic places following completion of the rehab project. 

“The Department of Natural Resources sometimes buy bridges like this, cities sometimes buy bridges like this to connect parks together or to connect recreational uses often and sometimes counties buy it if it’s on a trail system or if it’s on an existing trail that needs a piece of infrastructure there,” explained Historian of Cultural Resources Katie Haun Schuring.

Preliminary estimates of the total cost are around $1.5 million.

Anyone interested in purchasing the bridge can contact District State Aid Engineer Lisa Bigham at (507) 351-2563 or by sending an email to or Katie Haun Schuring at (651) 366-3603 or by emailing her at

Final applications are due by Sept. 30.

Visit MnDOT’s website for more information about the bridge, including additional photos, video, background and a Structural Analysis & Bridge Load Rating Report.

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