Taking a Look at the Historic Lewis and Clark Bridge
The original two lane Lewis and Clark Bridge in Williston was built in 1927. Set 50 feet upstream from the current bridge location, its predecessor was a pontoon bridge built in 1916. After a flood took out the pontoon bridge, the first steel bridge was constructed. This version of the Lewis and Clark was a very steel-heavy structure compared with the current bridge.
In 1973, a new bridge was constructed to keep up with traffic demand and the weight of larger, more modern trucks. The bridge is 36 feet wide and 1,530 feet long. During construction, crews used 228 tons of concrete and eleven hundred tons of steel to build the bridge. The ribbon cutting for the new bridge was held in November 1973. State and local leaders were present to cut the ribbon, and the dedication ceremony included a cannon salute and several marching selections by the local American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps. Soon after the completion of the modern bridge, the previous bridge was demolished.
Today, crews are building a four lane bridge, which will extend the US 85 Four Lane Project from Watford City all the way to Williston. Just as they did in 1973, crews will demolish the current bridge once the new bridge is completed in 2016. A rendering of the new bridge is on the main Lewis and Clark Bridge page on this website.