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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Bismarck Expressway Bridge
ND-810 Missouri River Highway Crossing
Bismarck, ND

Bismarck Expressway Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 0810000846
• Location: River Mile ???
• River Elevation: 1,625 Feet
• Highway: ND-810 (Bismarck Expressway)
• Daily Traffic Count: 13,000 (1997)
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder, Concrete Deck
• Length: 2,510 Feet
• Width: 66 Feet, 4 Lanes
• Navigation Channel Width: Non-Navigable
• Height Above Water: 30 Feet
• Date Built: 1985
By the mid-1970s, traffic in the Bismarck area had grown to the point where building a new regional connector highway seemed to make sense. Plans were put forward to build a four lane expressway across the south side of town connecting the Missouri River to the airport. From the airport, the expressway would loop to the north and connect to I-94. The west end of the expressway would cross the Missouri River on a new bridge, and then connect with Business Loop I-194 a half-mile to the north. The expressway would have sections that were freeway, 4-lane, and 2-lane, with upgrades being done at a later date as traffic levels warranted.

The key feature of the Bismarck Expressway is the Bismarck Expressway Bridge over the Missouri River. The bridge would have to cross both the river and a flood plain for a total span of 2,500 feet. Both ends of the bridge are on relatively low land, yet clearance under the bridge needs to be maintained for navigation traffic. The result is a bridge with a very distinctive hump shape. Finally, the east end of the bridge had to land between the city zoo and a golf course to line up with the existing street pattern. That dictated a curve in the east end of the bridge. Those features can be seen in the photos below.

The expressway bridge was finished and opened in 1985. While it includes no special decorative features, the curves in the bridge, both horizontal and vertical, make for a very graceful looking structure. It fits into the scene very well. The bridge does have street lights, and it does have a bicycle path on the south side that is independent of the traffic lanes. When built, this bridge became the southern-most Missouri River Bridge in North Dakota despite being 60 miles from the border with South Dakota, and 85 miles from the next nearest bridge over the river to the south.

Bismarck Expressway Bridge
Bismarck Expressway Bridge
Bismarck Expressway Bridge
Bismarck Expressway Bridge
Bismarck Expressway Bridge
Bismarck Expressway Bridge

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