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Federal funds to aid Ward County in replacing two bridges

Two Ward County bridges are among 18 aging bridges in the state targeted for replacement through the federal Bridge Rural Repair Program.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND, announced this week that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Competitive Highway Bridge Program, on behalf of its Bridge Rural Repair Program, has awarded the North Dakota Department of Transportation more than $6.5 million.

Counties with bridges in the program are Burleigh, Grand Forks, LaMoure, McKenzie, Stark, Traill, Walsh, Ward and Williams.

“Detours around closed bridges can add a significant amount of time to travels. Ensuring the roadways are connected with reliable bridges will help North Dakotans to safely and efficiently get where they’re headed,” Hoeven said in a news release.

The two Ward County bridges are located near Kenmare and Foxholm. One bridge is on County Road 4 (366th Avenue Northwest), four miles south of Kenmare, near Kenaston. The other bridge is on 209th Street Northwest, just north of U.S. Highway 52 in Mayland Township, six miles southwest of Carpio and three miles northwest of Foxholm.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation in support of the bridge program, Ward County Engineer Dana Larsen wrote, “County bridges in North Dakota continue to age. These structures continue to deteriorate because of higher crop yields, requiring additional truck trips, and have to carry heavier modern farm equipment. Many of these bridges are ‘off system’ and do not quality for federal funding and are reliant on limited state and local funds.”

The replacement of the bridge near Kenmare would restore the load-carrying capacity of the roadway. The road is one of only two county roads with access across the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge, he wrote.

The bridge project near Foxholm would replace a deficient structure on a township road that has both rural traffic and truck traffic from commercial gravel hauling, he added.

The state projects will be bundled into a single contract to save on design and construction costs. Ward County’s cost share on the projects is 20%.

The state money is part of a $225 million federal distribution in the bridge program nationally.

“This $225 million in federal funding will enable 18 states to make vital upgrades to select bridges in rural areas,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

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