The U.S. Highway 83 Bypass bridge in Minot closed indefinitely for repairs on Monday.
The closure is related to erosion problems discovered by the North Dakota Department of Transportation on the abutment on the south side of the bridge last Wednesday. After determining that the erosion was progressing, the state hired a contractor to bring in rock riprap on Saturday.
Terry Udland, state bridge engineer, said inspectors did additional examination Sunday and Monday and found the bottom of the river channel is eroding. That raised concerns about the stability of the bridge.
"It wasn't an easy decision to make but we are going to err on the safe side," Udland said of the bridge closure. "It's evidence that the inspection program is working because we were able to find this."
How long the bridge will be closed is uncertain. The department will have to wait for the river to recede further before it can make repairs because it is impossible to bring in equipment, Udland said. The solution could be more riprap or concrete.
"We haven't determined exactly what we are going to do there," Udland said, "It would be a pretty significant job."
The closure of the bridge interrupts one of Minot's three through-routes in the aftermath of the flood, Broadway and Third Street Northeast remain as north-south through streets in Minot.
When a road is closed, it is illegal to go around barricades, and motorists can be fined. North Dakota highway information is available online at (www.dot.nd.gov) or by calling 5-1-1.