The finishing touches are being applied to the new North Valley Bridge on County Road 21 north of Valley City, and the days are numbered for the old bridge.
“The (new) bridge itself is about complete,” said Barnes County Highway superintendent Kerry Johnson. “They have some coating to put on the railing, abutments and piers and then remove the rest of the forms... I would say there’s less than a week’s worth of work on the actual bridge itself.”
Traffic has been down to one lane this week on the heavily traveled highway as the old road is torn up. The new road will be completed and the bridge will be open to traffic before the old bridge is demolished.
Kadrmas Lee and Jackson engineer Jason Manlove is the onsite engineer for the project. He said barges will be used during the demolition of the old bridge to keep materials from falling into the water.
“They’re going to start on one end and take it across all the way,” he said.
Anderson said workers will dredge out anything that falls into the water.
The new bridge will offer a lifeline to people north of the city who were blocked off from entering the town during flooding in 2009 and 2011 when the bridge was underwater. The new bridge stands 4 feet higher and has a pedestrian walkway, as many runners and bicyclists recreationally use County Road 19, also known as the River Road, which is part of the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway.