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The Twin Ports of Duluth
Duluth, Minnesota
Duluth is a port city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and is the county seat of Saint Louis County. The fourth largest city in Minnesota, Duluth had a total population of 86,265 in the 2010 census. Duluth is also the second largest city that is located on Lake Superior after Thunder Bay, Ontario,...

, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

 and Superior
Superior, Wisconsin
Superior is a city in and the county seat of Douglas County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 26,960 at the 2010 census. Located at the junction of U.S. Highways 2 and 53, it is north of and adjacent to both the Village of Superior and the Town of Superior.Superior is at the western...

, Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 are located at the western part of Lake Superior
Lake Superior
Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

 (the westernmost of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

's Great Lakes) and together are considered the largest freshwater port in the world. They are twin cities and seaports, connected to the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Twin Ports are at the core of the U.S. Census Bureau's "Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Statistical Area
United States metropolitan area
In the United States a metropolitan statistical area is a geographical region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area. Such regions are not legally incorporated as a city or town would be, nor are they legal administrative divisions like...

", which includes all of Wisconsin's Douglas County, and Minnesota's Carlton
Carlton County, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 31,671 people, 12,064 households, and 8,408 families residing in the county. The population density was 37 people per square mile . There were 13,721 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile...

 and St. Louis
St. Louis County, Minnesota
St. Louis County is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of 2010, the population was 200,226. Its county seat is Duluth. It is the largest county by total area in Minnesota, and the second largest in the United States east of the Mississippi River; in land area alone, after Aroostook...

 counties. With a 2010 census population of 279,771, the Duluth-Superior MSA ranked as the 165th largest metropolitan area in the United States.

The area is home to two very long bridges: the Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge
Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge
The Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge, also known as the Bong Bridge, connects Duluth, Minnesota with Superior, Wisconsin via U.S. Highway 2. Opened on October 25, 1985, it is roughly 11,800 feet long. About 8,300 feet of that length is actually over water. It crosses over the Saint Louis Bay...

 (carrying U.S. Highway 2
U.S. Route 2
U.S. Route 2 is an east–west U.S. Highway spanning across the northern continental United States. US 2 consists of two segments connected by various roadways in southern Canada...

) and the John Blatnik Bridge
John A. Blatnik Bridge
The John A. Blatnik Bridge is the bridge that carries Interstate Highway 535 and U.S. Highway 53 over the Saint Louis Bay, a tributary of Lake Superior, between Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin. The bridge is long and rises up nearly above the water to accommodate the seaway shipping...

 (carrying I-535
Interstate 535
Interstate 535 is a long Interstate Highway spur route of Interstate 35 in Minnesota and Wisconsin, in the United States. It is paired with U.S...

 and U.S. Highway 53
U.S. Route 53
U.S. Route 53 is a north–south U.S. highway that runs for 403 miles from La Crosse, Wisconsin to northern Minnesota. It is the primary north–south route in northwestern Wisconsin, serving as a vital link between I-94 at Eau Claire, Wisconsin and the city of Duluth, Minnesota...

). While their central spans are not notably lengthy, the overall lengths are very impressive, with each reaching across more than 1.5 miles (2.5 km) of water.

However, when visitors to the area come to see bridges, they pay much more attention to the historic Aerial Lift Bridge
Aerial Lift Bridge
The Aerial Lift Bridge is a major landmark in the port city of Duluth, Minnesota. The span is a vertical lift bridge, which is rather uncommon, but it began life as an extremely rare transporter bridge—the first of just two such bridges ever constructed in the United States...

 that serves as a gateway to the port. It must be raised and lowered whenever ships enter or exit the Duluth side of the harbor, though the natural inlet closer to Superior is not similarly obstructed.

Together, the cities rank as the 19th-busiest port in the country overall (44.2 million short ton
Short ton
The short ton is a unit of mass equal to . In the United States it is often called simply ton without distinguishing it from the metric ton or the long ton ; rather, the other two are specifically noted. There are, however, some U.S...

s [40.1 million metric tonnes] per year) as of 2002, though the area is the 7th-busiest port (13.8 million short tons [12.5 million metric tonnes] per year) when measured on foreign export
Export
The term export is derived from the conceptual meaning as to ship the goods and services out of the port of a country. The seller of such goods and services is referred to as an "exporter" who is based in the country of export whereas the overseas based buyer is referred to as an "importer"...

s alone.

, Duluth is working in conjunction with Superior to bring Google Fiber
Google Fiber
Google Fiber is a project to build an experimental broadband internet network in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, following a selection process. Over 1,100 communities applied to be the first recipient of the technology....

internet to the Twin Ports.

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