Construction to rehabilitate the Kennedy Bridge will begin next month

Construction to rehabilitate the Kennedy Bridge near the North Dakota-Minnesota border is ready to get underway, with the bridge set for an extensive $15.7 million restoration. For the next two years, roughly 23,000 cars a day will flow one lane in each direction as the bridge becomes a beehive of activity.

Along with preserving the historic nature of the bridge, the project will improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. The final design features a complete deck replacement, pier replacement, structural repairs and new lighting. The new layout will maintain four lanes of traffic and also adds an additional protected walkway that will connect the Greenway Trail on each side of the river. The bridge paint will get an update to stave off corrosion, and a support pier on the western side of the bridge that has shifted more than 2 ft towards the river since the 1960s will be replaced.

“It’s just deteriorating over time,” said Paul Konickson, bridge engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. “It’s not necessarily a safety issue for the structural integrity of the bridge right now, but you’re going to get potholes.”

The construction will happen in several stages. The first, which lasts most of 2017, will see traffic flow primarily in two directions in the northernmost bridge lanes. The support pier under the western side of the bridge will be replaced, with bridge deck and road construction in southern lanes stretching from Grand Forks’ First Street to Fourth Street NW on the other side of the river.’

By early 2018, construction is expected to shift to the north side of the bridge, where the process repeats as traffic flows in the bridge’s south lanes. Besides bridge deck and road work, crews are expected to add a pedestrian walkway.