July 22, 2024
Highway 105 enters the Oliver Bridge


Highway 105 sign“A quick five miles with a unique bridge”

Quickie Summary: State “Trunk” Highway 105 is a brief tour that connects to Highway 35 on the south side of Superior on the east end, running to the town of Oliver and then crossing the St. Louis River into Minnesota on a unique two-level bridge, with the (narrow) roadway on the bottom and railroad tracks above.

The Wisconsin Highway 105 Road Trip

Highway 105 & 35, Superior city limit

Highway 35 at Highway 105 junctionThe Drive (East to West): Highway 105 begins at Highway 35/Tower Avenue at the southern end of the City of Superior (pop. 27,244), which is nestled into Wisconsin’s northwestern corner and part of the dynamic Twin Ports area that also accompanies Superior’s twin sister city of Duluth, Minnesota.

From Highway 35, Highway 105 heads west past a tavern named after the highway (we like businesses named after our State Trunk Tour roads) and into the rural area southwest of Superior for a few miles.

Tavern 105 along Highway 105 in Superior

Highway 105 westbound west of Superior
It’s a brief but pretty drive along Highway 105 from Superior to Oliver.

This part of Highway 105 is also called Central Avenue, although we’re not sure what it’s in the center of. We do pass a bar called Borders, which is in Wisconsin but seems to be welcoming to both Packers and Vikings fans (no words on Brewers and Twins, Badgers and Gophers, etc.)

Borders bar along Highway 105

Downtown Oliver along Highway 105After a few miles, Highway 105 becomes Union Street and enters the small village of Oliver (pop. 399), which lies close to the banks of the St. Louis River, which demarcates the boundary of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Just through the village, Highway 105 makes a brief bend onto the Oliver Bridge, an unusual crossing over the river that features a road directly underneath some busy Canadian National railroad tracks.

Oliver Bridge, Highway 105
Highway 105 heading onto the Oliver Bridge; note the railroad tracks overhead.

The Oliver Bridge was built in 1910. The railroad was, and still is, a very busy line connecting Winnipeg with Chicago and Superior with locales across Minnesota and the Great Plains. Back in 1910, the road crossing was considered fairly minor and usable for both cars (which were newfangled at the time) and horses. In fact, the original bridge deck on this level was wooden and wasn’t replaced with steel and reinforced concrete until 2000! Today, Highway 105 uses the road but it remains narrow – and the turns that access the bridge are pretty tight. This is definitely a time to follow the low speed limit signs.

Oliver Bridge at the state line
Highway 105 ends here at the Minnesota state line; definitely an unusual view for a typical highway end in Wisconsin.

Halfway across the bridge, Highway 105 technically ends at the Wisconsin-Minnesota state line. You continue across on what is now Minnesota Highway 39 into the Gary-New Duluth neighborhood of Duluth, Minnesota.

You can follow Minnesota 39 to Minnesota 23 north and into Duluth for a ride back into Superior via U.S. 2 or I-535, or turn around and experience the coziness of the Oliver Bridge again! Then, it’s only five miles back to Highway 35 and the ride north into Superior or south to Big Manitou Falls or through the North Woods towards Danbury and Siren. Either way, a pleasant drive awaits!

West Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: MN Highway 39

East Terminus:
Can connect immediately to: Highway 35
Can connect nearby to: Highway 13, about 7 miles east; U.S. 53, about 10 miles east; U.S. 2, about 6 miles north; I-535, about 8 miles north

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