Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Bridges in county scheduled for demolition, replacement

At their regular meeting on Tuesday, March 7, Eddy County commissioners heard updates about three bridges in the county scheduled for major changes, ranging from total demolition to complete replacement.

Todd Weber, Eddy County Road Superintendent, informed commissioners that the James River bridge on 6th Street North that connects New Rockford to River Drive – known locally as Hanson Bridge – is now approved by the state for removal.

The removal of the bridge will be 100 percent funded by the state, added Weber, meaning the entire project will come at no cost to the county.

Commissioners first discussed the Hanson Bridge at their December meeting last year, where they cited safety concerns as the reason for wanting it removed.

The Hanson Bridge was first constructed nearly 120 years ago in 1904, and is one of four structures in Eddy County listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge has long been closed to traffic due to safety concerns.

Meanwhile, the bridge on 64th Ave Northeast over the James River – known locally as Klumph Bridge – has also been approved for removal. Unlike the Hanson Bridge, however, the Klumph Bridge will be replaced after it's removed. Both removal and replacement of the bridge will also be funded entirely by the state.

The next step for the county, for both the Klumph and Hanson Bridge projects, is to acquire engineering services.

Weber also gave a short update on the Munster Bridge on County Road 12 in western Eddy County, which has been scheduled for "rehabilitation" for over a year.

The improvements will include repairs to the abutments, deck and approach slabs, in addition to a "retrofitted guard rail" being added to address safety concerns. The state granted the county more than $450,000 to pay for much of the improvements, but work on the bridge has not begun.

Weber told commissioners that Interstate Engineering, who the county hired to work on the Munster Bridge, is still waiting on the N.D. Department of Transportation to approve environmental studies before they can proceed with improvements.

Depending on how long it takes the state to get back to them, Weber cautioned that the Munster Bridge improvements might not occur this year.

Also at the March 7 commission meeting, Eddy County State's Attorney Ashley Lies gave an update on the proposal to host a drag racing event on County Road 12 this summer.

At the commission's February meeting, the president of the Jamestown Drag Racing Association, Mike Trautman, appeared in person to tell commissioners he'd like to bring his event to Eddy County. At the time, commissioners seemed on board with the proposal.

However, Lies told commissioners on Tuesday that state law prohibits drag racing from occurring on public property, bringing an end to any hopes of drag racing on County Road 12, a.k.a. Munster Road.

Also appearing before the commission was Eddy County Emergency Manager Lisa Thompson, who said hazard mitigation plan meetings for Eddy and Wells counties will begin soon.

In order to qualify for grants through FEMA and other federal funding programs, Eddy and Wells counties must have an approved hazard mitigation plan in place, and the current plan expires this year.

The first meeting is scheduled for March 15 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Festival Hall on the Wells County Fairgrounds. The address is 604 Highway 15, Fessenden, N.D.

Food and beverages will be provided, and those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by contacting Daniel Schwartz or their local emergency manager. Schwartz can be contacted via phone at (701) 989-7970 or email at [email protected]. Thompson can be reached at (701) 302-8279 or [email protected].

Before adjourning, commissioners also appointed Inila Bullhead to a 3-year term on the Eddy County Housing Board beginning April 1.

The next Eddy County commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 4 at 8:30 a.m. in the Eddy County Courthouse.