Belfield gets new bridgeBELFIELD — Residents living southeast of town will soon have a shorter drive to get to Highway 10 after a replacement bridge was positioned across the Heart River on 128th Avenue on Thursday morning.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
BELFIELD — Residents living southeast of town will soon have a shorter drive to get to Highway 10 after a replacement bridge was positioned across the Heart River on 128th Avenue on Thursday morning.
A 14-by-60-foot portable steel bridge was put in place and is expected to be open to traffic Monday
The I-beam bridge was set after a smaller wooden bridge was found unusable in mid-April, Stark County Road Superintendent Al Heiser said.
The north edge of the old bridge separated from the surrounding ground and left a gap that vehicles could not pass.
“The people were really inconvenienced. They would have to drive two miles this way and two miles that way just to get to around,” Heiser said. The school bus was rerouted eight miles to pick up all the students, he said.
The bridge is an old oilfield bridge that was owned by Edward H. Schwartz Construction. It had been out of use for 20 years and costs about $300,000. The final project will be a large box culvert, but the bridge was a necessary temporary fix, Stark County Commissioner Russ Hoff said.
“It was important to do something there,” he said. “The final project won’t be done until next summer and that is a long time to go without. We found the bridge and it was a good fit.”
A smaller culvert was proposed as possible alternative, but it would have had to be removed before the spring thaw.
“The bridge is a benefit because it gets traffic going and we can keep it in place we don’t have to get it out before the melt,” Heiser said. “It is really a savior.”
Curt Buckman, who lives adjacent to the bridge, was happy to see progress on the project.
“Instead of driving a couple hundred yards to go to work, I had to go four miles around,” he said. “I will be glad to have it back.”
The road is slated to be moved a little ways away from the current crossing sometime in 2012, Heiser said. The new route will eliminate some turns and the permanent box culvert would be put in place at that time.
The bridge is portable and Heiser expects it will have new life upon completion of this project.
“With all the traffic in the area, another one (bridge) is bound to go out,” he said.