The old McKenzie Bridge over I-94 near Sterling was severely damaged by a vehicle carrying an oversized load to North Dakota’s oil field, which marked the sixth time this structure had been hit since 2011. The bridge is an important one, as it serves the agricultural needs in the area by allowing farmers to serve many rural communities in the vicinity. It’s also a major bus route for schools—without the bridge, students would add 40 minutes to their school commute.
Because the bridge was so important to community and needed to be replaced to fix the damage done, NDDOT fast tracked the $2.2 million project. In replacing the bridge, NDDOT focused on the latest safety features including better safety rails across the structure, additional overhead clearance to allow oversized vehicles to better pass beneath it, and wider driving lanes to accommodate large agricultural equipment. A project of this size would normally take about a year and a half for NDDOT, but the department was able to complete this project in fewer than six months to minimize the impact on the community and providing a stronger, more secure structure for all.