Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Missouri River
Bismarck, North Dakota
The Veterans Memorial Bridge connects the North Dakota cities of Bismarck and Mandan, crossing the Missouri River and the parks along its banks. Lewis and Clark came this way in 1804, and the bridge crosses their Trail. The river itself is heavily used by recreational boaters. The new bridge replaces a 1928 steel truss bridge named in honor of the area's World War I veterans. A Community Advisory Committee (CAC) was established to guide the design of the bridge. Mr. Gottemoeller led the community involvement and provided aesthetic advice to the engineering team.
The CAC asked for a “distinctive” bridge, one that had unique and memorable features. The greatest numbers of observers see the Memorial Bridge from the parks and from other bridges some distance away. The Y-shaped piers are memorable shapes that are recognizable from the distant bridges. The bridge girders appear balanced on the arms of the Y, giving the bridge a light and graceful appearance. At night the girders are lit from below so that the bridge is a also presence in the nighttime scene.
Carrying on the tradition of the original bridge, the new Memorial Bridge is dedicated to all veterans. The design incorporates plazas at each bridge entrance with eleven spires symbolizing the Armistice of World War I. Overlooks are provided at each of the five piers, one for each of the Armed Services. The overlooks include commemorative medallions, flags (on public holidays) and indirect lighting that makes each overlook a lighted oasis at night.
To encourage competitive bidding designs were prepared in steel and concrete. The steel alternative was chosen. The bridge was dedicated and opened to traffic on Veterans Day, 2008. Final completion of the work in the parks is expected in 2010. The contract price was $47 million.
"A bridge like this is about more than getting from place to place; a bridge like this is about making the trip memorable, and about celebrating the beauty of this place."Congressman Earl Pomroy, R., N.D.