Climax, Minn., bridge to have load limits; replacement could cost $12M

CLIMAX, Minn. —The bridge that spans the Red River near Climax, Minn., soon will have road restrictions in place.

The load limit for a single-load truck will be 24 tons and for a semi-tractor trailer, 38 tons, said Richard Sanders, Polk County's highway engineer. Previously, the load limit was 40 tons for a semi.

The bridge, built in 1957, connects the Traill County, N.D., side of the Red River to Polk County, Minn. The bridge on County Road 7 is a two-span cantilevered Warren through-truss structure, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The bridge, also known as the War Memorial Bridge, was inspected in the fall of 2019, Sanders said. The inspection by MnDot showed some of the bridge’s cross beams underneath were showing wear, Sanders said. The load restrictions signs have been ordered and will be put in place as soon as they arrive.

"Salt and steel don't mix," Sanders explained. "At this point, we don't think it's possible to repair it; (we’ll) just do a couple fixes to get it back to legal loads ... we're going to be looking at replacing it in the future."


Sanders said it will cost around $12 million to replace the Climax bridge, but securing the funds will be a challenge.

Five years ago, the bridge near Nielsville, Minn., was closed after a hole appeared in the concrete bridge deck. That bridge has still not been reopened. Repairing both that bridge and the Climax bridge would cost about $20 million, Sanders said.

With load restrictions to come into effect for the Climax bridge in just a few weeks, area farmers are worried.

"This would be really bad for this area. Most guys right here farm on both sides of the river,” said farmer David Bjorge. “It would make it really tough.”

Farmers won’t be able to move as much weight across the bridge when the restrictions take effect, meaning more trips.

Bjorge is hoping North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum will step in to help fix the Climax bridge, possibly by dipping into the North Dakota Legacy Fund to help move the project along.

"Burgum promised us infrastructure," he said. "I wish he would come through with some money and I just hope we get something fixed here."

What To Read Next
Get Local