Delaying bridge work

The good news for area drivers??The Broadway Bridge won’t be undergoing a deck replacement over the next two years, a project that would have reduced traffic to two lanes during construction.

The bad news for area drivers??The bridge may actually need more work than originally thought in the near future, creating even more potential traffic issues.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation and the city of Minot said Tuesday that the bridge will undergo more analysis of the structure’s condition before any work is done. City engineer Lance Meyer said the bridge is structurally sound, but recent inspections detected cracks and other signs of aging in parts of the bridge. That finding led to the decision to delay beginning work on the $7.2 million project that would have replaced the bridge’s decks, built new south approach slabs, repaired piers and replaced a beam line in seven spans.

Delaying the bridge work could allow other projects to be completed before traffic on the Broadway Bridge is affected in the upcoming years, including finishing work on the Sixth Street underpass and completing projects in the downtown area. It’s possible some work could be done on the bridge next year, depending on what is found during further inspections, but major work on the Broadway Bridge could be pushed into the future.

If nothing else, the decision at least delays the inevitable inconvenience to area drivers using the Broadway Bridge, which in 2012 was used by 12,630 vehicles per day.