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Demetria Mosley, Published July 16 2012

Lift system to eliminate need to raise bridge by crane during times of flooding

FARGO – Work to replace the pedestrian bridge linking Lindenwood Park in Fargo with Gooseberry Park in Moorhead with a bridge featuring a lift system started Monday.

The new bridge will be longer than the old bridge, as well as 3 feet higher, so it can remain in place during smaller floods on the Red River, while the lift system will allow the bridge to be raised during higher floods.

The highest recorded flooding of the Red River was in spring 2009, when the river reached 40.84 feet, according to the North Dakota Water Science Center. It reached 38.81 feet in spring 2011.

“The main issue we had with the old bridge was the inconvenience of having to hire a crane service to lift it twice a year because of flooding,” said Dave Leker, director of parks for the Fargo Park District.

The estimated cost of lifting the bridge with the crane services, shared by Fargo and Moorhead, was $4,000 per year, Leker said.

The new lift system will be self-contained, so it will take only hours – not weeks – to lift the bridge, an email from Moorhead Parks and Recreation stated.

The cities of Fargo and Moorhead and the Fargo Park District worked with other local agencies to secure a federal transportation enhancement grant to replace the bridge. To be approved for the grant, the project had to be designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the area.

Leker said the project is expected to be done by the third week of September.

“The bridge was coming up on the end of its life expectancy,” he said. “It’s been around for 20-something years, so some work was needed on it.”

Leker said the pedestrian bridge at Oak Grove Park will be the next project, but it will take three to five years to secure funding.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Demetria Mosley at (701) 451-5655