North Dakota has a terrible preservation record. You would think that when you only have a small number of historic bridges to begin with, you might preserve what you do have.
I have found that demolition of historic bridges enjoys broad bipartisan support. Doesn't matter what political party it is. The problem is, the politicians who make our laws regarding transportation funding lack knowledge about bridges. They are weird. They constantly complain about our crumbling infrastructure and assume that throwing more money at the problem will fix it. They never seem to question whether the manner in which these funds are distributed might be the actual problem.
What needs to happen is a study that compares the American system of funding bridges to the system that is used in the United Kingdom. I believe such a study would reveal that we demolish far more bridges than is needed and are wasting money as well.
As everybody knows, the Democrats are just as bad...I certainly don't see Obama or any of the Dems jumping to save any of our metal truss bridges, or any bridge that's not a wooden covered bridge, for that matter!! They use the same excuse as K.A. mentioned...new bridge construction creates jobs and stimulates the economy. Well, that may be true, but there is no reason that I can see why most of these historic bridges can't be left standing next to their replacements.
I would be surprised if North Dakota has any historic bridges left at all. The only thing they have for sure is wheat and oil. They are hardcore Republican and their claim to fame in the "What's your state guilty of?" poll is "Ugliest Residents." How would that work? The winters are cold, and after drinking what is there to do but ... hey, hey. What's that over there?
But Idaho is quickly getting rid of their truss bridges as well. The argument is new bridges stimulate the economy. Old bridges stand in the way of jobs. I have heard that too many times.
If you thought North Dakota didn't have many historic bridges, wait until the DOT gets done with the state. Another extremely rare historic bridge has been demolished by NDDOT, the apparent lead agency for this state border project. This bridge was an extremely unusual cantilever. Rather than having cantilevers at the center span, the cantilevers are at the ends of the bridge, where the truss hangs over the pier a significant distance, and then a stringer span connects this to a pier.
Here is the current status of the Drayton Bridge:
The new bridge was open to traffic on 29 October. The bridge is over 4,000 feet long, which is 4 times the length of the truss structure. The truss bridge is still standing and unless there is a change in scheduling, it will not be removed until January 2011. In case you want to see it, now is the time as long as it serves as a monument to an engineering feat.
My opinion of MNDOT has dropped considerably of late. As for NDDOT, well, they beat out even Pennsylvania for most historic bridge demolished in the 21st Century (only Turner truss in existence). I fail to understand how in a state with so much desolate, empty space that they cannot leave the bridge standing next to its replacement.
Get out and see this bridge while you still can--MnDOT and NDDOT are in the process of replacing this bridge as we speak.