When do Grand Forks area bridges close?
Though there’s a clear outline for road, bridge and park closures, Grand Forks communication specialist John Bernstrom said “it’s a bit of a moving target.”
GRAND FORKS — With potential flooding looming in Greater Grand Forks, city officials are preparing for potential park, bridge and road closures.
Though there's a clear outline for road, bridge and park closures, Grand Forks communication specialist John Bernstrom said “it’s a bit of a moving target.”
“Every year that I've been doing this job, we've closed the bridge at a different river mark,” Bernstrom said. “But a lot of that is based on our projected crest.”
In the National Weather Service's April 6 update, Grand Forks has a 95% chance of moderate flooding at 41.0 feet and a 25% chance of major flooding at 46.5 feet. The weather service is expected to hold a spring flooding webinar on Friday.
As of Thursday morning, April 13, the Red River was at 16.87 feet.
A pedestrian bridge was closed on Wednesday, April 12 , but there haven’t been any other closures so far.
The minor flood stage begins at 28 feet. The first park closure — the River Heights and Trail Head Park — happens at 36.5 feet.
Point Bridge, as well as the Eagles Point Trail Head and Park, would close at 40 feet.
At 43.5 feet, the Sorlie Bridge would close.
If the river is rising quickly, and is projected to reach 48 feet, Bernstrom said both Point Bridge and Sorlie Bridge may close before the river reaches 40 feet because it takes time to prepare.
However, if the river is rising more slowly with a chance of leveling off, bridges may be kept open longer.
“We want to keep those bridges open as long as we can, because once we close the bridge it cannot reopen until it has been inspected,” Bernstrom said. “Even though the river may be way down, the bridge needs to be inspected before it can be reopened.”
Shortly after, at 46 feet, the major flood stage begins.
At 48.5 feet, Murray Bridge would close, followed by Kennedy Bridge at 52 feet.
“When Kennedy Bridge closes, it’s a big deal,” Bernstrom said.
The record flood level is 54.35 feet, which happened in April 1997.