A significant example of early railway construction, the North La Crosse Railway Bridge is now threatened by a present drive to replace it because of problems with the river channel. Constructed by the Milwaukee Road from North La Crosse to Minnesota in 1876 in a five month period after a long fight over the site between the Milwaukee Road and Southern Minnesota Railroad interest. This bridge was replaced by a steel bridge on concrete piers in 1902. The railroad bridge at La Crosse joined the city with Minneapolis-St. Paul as well as with the expanding frontier settlements of Southern Minnesota and the Dakotas. The bridge was instrumental in making La Crosse a transportation center of great importance and it stimulated the growth of trade and manufacturing. When it opened in 1876 La Crosse had thriving riverboat and rail connections. The La Crosse bridge was the second bridge over the Mississippi within Wisconsin. The La Crosse bridge, moreover, was a more solid structure than the Prairie du Chien bridge and on a more direct route between Milwaukee-Chicago and St. Paul.