Broadway bridge fully open

Ribbon cutting signals end to two years of construction

Jill Schramm/MDN The first vehicles cross over the completed Broadway bridge project following a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning.

Traffic kept flowing through two years of construction on the new Broadway Bridge, but it stopped for a moment Thursday to allow for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the $21 million project.

Tom Sorel, director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation, and Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma joined contractor representatives, local department of transportation employees, city staff and area leaders on a misty morning to acknowledge the work and also the patience of area businesses and the public through the period of reduced access and lane closures.

I. Keating Furniture World opened its store for a short ceremony before the outdoor ribbon cutting at the south entrance onto the bridges. I. Keating, at the south end of the project, and Sammy’s Pizza at the north end took the brunt of the construction interruption, and both Sipma and Sorel thanked them particularly and the downtown area as well for their understanding.

Sorel also credited the agencies and companies that had a hand in the work.

“These things do not happen if all the parties do not come together and collaborate,” Sorel said.

Jill Schramm/MDN Tom Sorel, director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation, center, and Mayor Shaun Sipma, right, watch as chamber ambassadors cut the ribbon on a completed Broadway Bridge project Thursday.

The transportation department took the lead on the project, assisted by the City of Minot, with Lunda Construction of Black River Falls, Wis., as general contractor and Bartlett & West as construction administration engineer. Federal funds went into the project, letters of congratulations from Sen. John Hoeven and Congressman and Senator-elect Kevin Cramer were read by their office staff.

Construction coordination also occurred with Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Canadian Pacific Rail. The bridge spans both railroads and the Souris River.

Keeping the bridge open was a major focus during the 2011 flood, and Sorel noted the flood protection features incorporated into the project.

“If we were ever to flood again, this bridge could remain open. We know that’s very important to the citizens of Minot,” he said.

The bridge includes new LED lighting to match the downtown and an enhanced walkway for pedestrians and bikes.

Lunda estimated 55,900 labor hours went into construction. There were 101 steel girders trucked in during the summers of 2017 and 2018, measuring almost 1.75 miles if stretched end to end. The girders formed the bottom layer of the roadway for the bridge.

Contractors estimate they poured more than 7,000 cubic yards of concrete, or the equivalent about 780 truck loads. Just over 1 million pounds of reinforcing steel was used.

The finished bridge is nearly 1,000 feet long. Because of today’s engineering and design capabilities, the bridge has fewer piers than the previous bridge from the 1960s. Six piers hold up the bridge, compared to 14 on the former bridge. Fewer piers means less footprint impact beneath the bridge where the river and railroads run.

Sipma called the new bridge a “monumental milestone” in the heart of the city.

In a prepared statement released Thursday, Sipma added, “These once-in-a-lifetime projects are important to get right – and the North Dakota Department of Transportation, City of Minot and hired contractors did just that. It’s great to have all four lanes of traffic open, including a fully functioning intersection at Broadway and Central Avenue. This is truly something to be proud of.”

The bridge carries about 30,000 vehicles a day, according to the transportation department.