Fargo’s Pedestrian Lift Bridges – A Tale of Two Spans

Fargo, North Dakota.

Every winter, it was the same story. A crane would be dispatched to Lindenwood Park and to Oak Grove Park in Fargo to lift the pedestrian bridges off their foundations and set them on stanchions high enough to prevent them from being damaged during spring flooding, a nearly annual occurrence on the Red River of the North. In the spring, cranes would be required to place them back in service. If a forecast of summer flooding expected the rising waters to impact the bridges, it was again necessary to call in the cranes to lift, and then again to reinstall, the bridges used to connect pedestrians between parks in the two communities.

By 2009, Fargo and twin city on the Minnesota side of the river were seeking funding for a permanent solution. In an article on June 1, 2009, the Grand Forks Herald tells of the cooperation between the two cities as they worked to acquire funding for the construction projects. The opening photo features the completed lift bridge at Lindenwood Park captured in a recent image. Cranes are no longer required, and when necessary, technicians can raise and lower the bridge deck on demand. The height of the lift is well above the 500-year floodplain for the Red River.

From the article in the Herald referenced above, this is a view of the original Oak Grove pedestrian bridge on its stanchions awaiting placement for use in the spring. Representatives of the communities worked with engineers and planners from SRF Consulting Services to complete environmental documentation and design plans for the two bridges.

The bridges went into service in 2014 and both feature a modern pratt pony truss vertical lift. The image above is a view from the Lindenwood Park side of the bridge. The bridge connects to Gooseberry Mound Park in Moorhead, Minnesota.

The bridges are a welcome addition to the parks, especially in the case of Lindenwood/Gooseberry Mound Parks as it’s the only pedestrian transit point across the river for some distance between the bridges in downtown Fargo and the bridge on 52nd Avenue South. Lindenwood Park’s entrance is on 17th Avenue South.

John Steiner

8 comments

    • I thought I already replied to your comment, but apparently lost it. 🙂
      If they raise the bridge, the water on the river is covering the approaches to the bridge anyway. They raise the bridge because if they didn’t, the fast-moving flood waters could wash it down the river.

      • I see, it’s not only the water level but the strength of the current, indeed it’ s necessary to avoid contact with the water. Thank you for the clarification

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