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Goose River Bridge


Goose River Bridge

Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office via Facebook


BH Photo #452832


Pony truss bridge over Goose River on 3rd Avenue, 1 mi. west and 1 mi. south of Northwood in Northwood Township
Grand Forks County, North Dakota
Closed indefinitely
Built 1906; rehabilitated 2001; destroyed by overweight truck 2019
- Fargo Bridge & Iron Co. of Fargo, North Dakota
Pony truss
Length of largest span: 53.2 ft.
Total length: 56.1 ft.
Deck width: 16.7 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on February 27, 1997
Also called
Northwood Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+47.71744, -97.60735   (decimal degrees)
47°43'03" N, 97°36'26" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/604450/5285835 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2013)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 97000175 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
ND 18-114-330 (North Dakota bridge number)
BH 23453 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of October 2017)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 27.5 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • July 23, 2019: New photos from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • July 22, 2019: Updated by Jason Smith: Lost- destroyed by a stupid truck driver who didn't read the signs properly.
  • March 10, 2012: Updated by Craig Philpott: Refined location


  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Craig Philpott - craigphilpott63 [at] gmail [dot] com


Goose River Bridge
Posted July 28, 2019, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

I wouldn't be so sure about GPS systems getting updated to show this road as closed.

I've been studying North Dakota bridges this weekend, and I'm finding a bunch of bridges that were removed and not replaced years ago. These continue to be shown as open by Google as well as the Census Bureau's TIGER dataset (the TIGER data is what powers the "What's Here" tool when editing bridges).

Rural areas just don't get a lot of attention for these things.

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 27, 2019, by Don Morrison

In north Iowa, minimum maintenance roads don't have houses or farms along them, so they don't get plowed in winter or graded in the spring, or at least not as a priority.

Even with insurance money, I don't see major money being spent to replace this bridge, they'll probably just close the road.

Same way Gilliece bridge was lost. A shame.

The GPS software will be updated now - for a closed road.

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 26, 2019, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

I don't know to what extent GPS has replaced oral or written directions for crews but I suppose it is the main source for routing these days.

I know too little about where GPS and mapping apps get their information. Any GIS pros able to comment on the possibility of incorporating limited load roads into navigation programs?

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 26, 2019, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

What's frustrating is that this driver somehow managed to find the only historic bridge on Goose River for a long distance in either direction.

What's also frustrating is that the next bridge upstream is a 1996 UCEB with no posted weight limit on a much better road.

What's also frustrating is that this bridge is located on a road clearly signed as a Minimum Maintenance Road (see Street View on the west end).

What's also frustrating is that this road is only 0.15 miles shorter than the upstream road, but that was apparently just enough to make a GPS device stupidly route the driver this way despite being a Minimum Maintenance Road.

What's also frustrating is that this road doesn't serve any houses or buildings, and carries very little traffic. But that probably won't stop local officials from spending megabucks on a replacement.

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 26, 2019, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

I wish it were so simple. It's a loss for the MOB company. You have to factor in either their satisfaction or opposition. If their workers are in a union there is another source of opposition. First part of the solution is listing stakeholders, necessary criteria, and constraints. It varies depending on the particular bridge but there are some that generally apply. The solution needs to be a win for everyone or it will have opposition.

I know from weighing at the elevator, my truck was always overweight. It was important to get the maximum amount carried on each trip to town. It's a business where once the harvest is ready you can't waste time. The stuff up north will be ready in another day or two and if you're not ready the rain may come. It's not a salary job--you only get paid if you cut an acre. The equipment is expensive, the notes come due regardless. I'm not justifying recklessness but there is a lot of pressure to move without delay. The truck drivers may be the youngest and least experienced workers.

A small improvement can be had by putting warning signs far enough out that there is a way to avoid getting into a situation that involves backing a truck. Permanent "truck route" signage would help.

This particular incident was pretty careless. The cutters and the farmer both lost and no doubt regret this as much as anyone.

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 26, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

The solution is easy. Take every situation where a Continental Bridge Company MOB bridge was originally planned to be used on a trail. Use a historic bridge instead. Build new bridge for trucks on highway. Done. Everyone is happy.

The win-win scenario is so obvious yet it is a constant fight to try to get it to happen.

As for the actual situation here, even if they are in a hurry to deliver goods, what sane person drives a truck of that size and thinks they can safely drive on a bridge like this? You shouldn't need to be an engineer to figure this out even if you don't know how to read (the weight limit sign).

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 26, 2019, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

This event highlights the problem faced by people hoping to preserve century old parts of our transportation infrastructure.

I drove a truck during wheat harvest many years ago. I understand the pressure to move from the field to the elevator with minimum delay. Add to this travel in unfamiliar territory, in my day guided by verbal directions and sketched maps, these days inadequate GPS routing.

Rural roads are there to serve the needs of local growers. Their property taxes pay for the upkeep of the roads and bridges. We can't insist that they pay for infrastructure that does not meet their needs.

This would make an interesting problem for a senior design class. Save the bridges in a way that meets with the approval of the local people paying the taxes for the roads.

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 26, 2019, by Slim Pickens

it's about the beans.

Maybe there are a lot of vegans who read GQ.

Cowboys love 'em too.


Goose River Bridge
Posted July 25, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I can't decide if it's quippy or condescending...

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 24, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

I have a headache after reading the article.

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 24, 2019, by Luke

The bridge has, to the befuddlement of many, made it to GQ


Goose River Bridge
Posted July 23, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Could be repaired if they are willing to take the insurance money and send the trusses to the right person like Nels up in Michigan.

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 23, 2019, by Daniel

The post states that the truck weighed 86,750 (I'd expect overweight without a permit anywhere, not just on this bridge, but I don't know the ND standards) on a bridge rated for 14 tons/28,000.

The citation was $11,400. That seems awfully low for causing close to $1M damage (based on replacement cost) by being over 3 times the allowed weight.

Goose River Bridge
Posted July 22, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Unfortunately, this historic pony truss was destroyed by a trucker that tried to cross it with over 3 times the posted weight. The bridge is listed on the National Register.