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By Lisa Schneider, Published September 16 2002

Construction will detour I-29 tonight

Large concrete beams will swing from cranes on Interstate 29 tonight, causing detours for drivers.

Construction workers are taking apart the railroad bridge over I-29 just north of Main Avenue. Cranes will park on the highway tonight and remove concrete beams on the bridge's north side.

From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., I-29 will be closed between Main Avenue and Seventh Avenue North. Southbound traffic will detour at 12th Avenue North to 45th Street and will return to the highway at Main Avenue. Northbound traffic will detour at Main Avenue to 45th Street and will return to the highway at 12th Street.

The concrete beams to be removed do not provide structural support, said Kevin Gordon, North Dakota Department of Transportation project engineer.

Instead, they were meant to protect the tracks from bending in the case of a truck smashing into the bridge, he said.

"The trains are still running on the bridge," he said.

Nothing is wrong with it, he said. It just doesn't provide enough room for Fargo's vehicular traffic.

By Oct. 1, the railroad plans to finish laying track on a new bridge to which trains will be diverted.

Underneath the new structure will be an additional 35 feet of space for at least an additional lane, bringing I-29's lanes to three.

In October, workers will cut apart the old bridge's steel beams and dismantle it piece by piece, Gordon said.

"It's kind of fascinating to see how it all goes together," he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Lisa Schneider at (701) 241-5529