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Kennedy Bridge to close for week of construction starting Tuesday

Traffic flows across the Kennedy Bridge. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

The Kennedy Bridge on Gateway Drive will close for a week beginning Tuesday night, a press release from the city of Grand Forks said.

Joe Hastings, Ag Manager for American Crystal Sugar in Crookston and East Grand Forks, said the closure will affect growers bringing in sugar beets at the beginning of harvest. About 13 growers are expected to deliver beets to the factory next week. Hastings said five of the growers will be affected by the closure.

"It creates a definite obstacle for our growers," he said.

About 23,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily.

Construction crews will complete work to the bridge deck, remove cover on the north half of the truss used to paint the bridge and move temporary concrete barriers, the release said.

Traffic will be rerouted to DeMers Avenue and South Washington Street. The release said to expect delays on the Sorlie and Point bridges, especially during busy travel times.

Hastings said growers will have to travel through town and take the Sorlie Bridge because it's the only other commercial crossing.

"That's time and miles, and both cost money, but I guess it's better now than later during stockpile for us," he said. The main harvest is expected to begin Oct. 1.

One lane of traffic in each direction will be open by the end of the day Tuesday, Sept. 18, and crews will start painting the south side of the bridge, the release said.

The 55-year-old bridge is expected to be fully open before winter.

The Minnesota and North Dakota Departments of Transportation worked with the Federal Highway Administration on the $15.66 million construction project.

"We're looking forward, just like everybody, for the bridge to be complete," Hastings said. "It's been quite a process and in Grand Forks we're limited by the amount of commercial bridges in town, and it'll be nice to have it open and fully functional."