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Three-day Kennedy bridge closure expected late next week

Kennedy Bridge on the Minnesota, North Dakota border. (Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald)

If your drive across the Kennedy Bridge on your daily commute, buckle up for three days of big changes next week.

Paul Konickson, a bridge engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said a three-day, two-night closure is expected on the bridge beginning either July 27 or 28, sending Grand Forks and East Grand Forks traffic down Washington Street and DeMers Avenue to cross the Sorlie Bridge downtown.

Crews will be pouring concrete and allowing it to dry on the eastern side of the bridge in the eastbound lanes, part of a more than $20 million bridge update that's expected to bring two more similar closures before the end of the year.

Konickson said the dates aren't clear yet because weather and construction schedules could shift them slightly, and added that the delay could last a third night, depending on how long the concrete takes to dry.

Two other three-day closures are expected in September, and an overnight closure is expected in August.The latter, Konickson said, will place the bridge on a newly-built support pier, which continues a pier-replacement process that kicked off with another overnight closure in early June.

The bridge project began in the late winter, reducing traffic on the bridge to two lanes. Two-lane traffic is expected to last until late 2018, as crews repaint the bridge, add a pedestrian walkway and work on the bridge deck and roadway. Final work will finish in 2019.

The project is being funded by federal and state funds through both the Minnesota and North Dakota departments of transportation.

Sam Easter

Sam Easter is a City Government reporter for the Grand Forks Herald. You can reach him with story tips, comments and ideas at 701-330-3441.

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