North Dakota officials haven’t approved any funding; Sanders says with July 2020 deadline looming, federal funds will likely be moved to another project

    The Polk County Board of Commissioners recently approved a Memorandum of Agreement for the pending Nielsville Bridge replacement so they can remove the old bridge. The bridge replacement cost will be split 50/50 between Polk County and Traill County, North Dakota whenever funding is available.

    County Engineer Rich Sanders told the Times that Polk County has $1.4 million in federal highway aid for 2020 set aside for the replacement of the Nielsville Bridge, but, with the likelihood of the bridge not being replaced prior to July 1, 2020, they will be moving the money to another project.

    If and when North Dakota approves funding for the bridge replacement, the project will take approximately nine months to finish the final plans and go to bid letting, and one year to construct after the letting.

    Previously, Polk and Traill counties applied for a second round of BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) grants, formerly known as TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants, and were not selected. Sanders said that St. Louis County was ranked as first in Minnesota Department of Transportation’s submittal.

    “We were part of an application that MNDOT submitted for bridge bundling, and ours was ranked second in MNDOT’s submittal,” Sanders added. “Our bundle included replacing the Nielsville (Polk County) Bridge, Hendrum (Norman County) Bridge and Georgetown (Clay County) Bridge over the Red River.”

    The Nielsville Bridge, located 0.85 miles north and 9.5 miles east of Cummings, N.D. on County Road 17 to the west limits of Nielsville, has been closed since September 2015 after a large hole formed in the bridge deck. It’s closest crossings are north of Climax and south of Shelly.