Broadway Bridge repair delayed for more evaluation

Motorists won’t have construction on Minot’s Broadway Bridge to disrupt their travels this summer.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation and City of Minot pulled the deck replacement project from Friday’s bid-letting to allow for further analysis of the bridge’s condition.

City engineer Lance Meyer said the bridge is structurally sound, but it appears that more work than originally planned is needed to keep it in good shape.

“We want to make sure when we do these deck replacements that we don’t put a 25-year deck on a bridge that may need to be replaced in 20,” Meyer said. “So the DOT wants to continue to do some more analysis to see what’s the best long-term solution for these structures.”

As a result, Broadway will not be reduced to head-to-head traffic on the viaduct near Central Avenue during the upcoming construction season. Traffic on the bridge was counted at 12,655 vehicles a day in 2011 and 12,630 vehicles a day in 2012.

The first phase of construction, involving reconstruction of the southbound lanes, had been scheduled for about April through October. The northbound lanes were to be rebuilt in 2015.

Estimated to cost $3.6 million for each phase, the project was to involve removing the aging decks and replacing them, along with new south approach slabs, repair to piers and replacement of a beam line in seven spans. Some work to the pedestrian structures also was included.

The southbound lanes had been rebuilt in 1962 and the northbound lanes in 1971. Decks typically can be expected to have about a 50-year life. A few years ago, the Department of Transportation inspected the bridge and decided to put deck replacement on its projects list. Now, a more recent review has detected cracks and other signs of aging to other parts of the bridge, which has prompted the hold on the project and additional review, Meyer said.

Depending on the information that the DOT uncovers, it is possible that some type of work could be done next year, Meyer said. However, it also is possible that work could be delayed further into the future.

The delay isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“With all the work we have going on in that area downtown, Sixth Street this is just one less thing that we will have to worry about this year,” Meyer said.