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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Cartwright in McKenzie County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Fairview Lift Bridge

 
 
Fairview Lift Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 27, 2020
1. Fairview Lift Bridge Marker
Inscription.  The Fairview Bridge crossing the Yellowstone River in North Dakota is named after the Montana town of Fairview located five miles west. Although it is considered the only lift span bridge in North Dakota, it has a twin structure located nine miles north and crossing the Missouri River in Montana. Both bridges were under construction in 1912 and completed in the fall of 1913. Because both rivers are considered navigable by the United States government, a lift span mechanism was required to allow steamboat traffic to pass beneath. The lift span needed to clear an average river level by eighty feet. It was tested once, being lifted forty-three feet in thirty minutes, but it never saw actual use since steamboat traffic on the Lower Yellowstone ceased in 1912.

Lift machinery, located on top of the lift span, included a three-cylinder kerosene engine that was added by counterweights containing 343 cubic yards of concrete. The weights are connected to the lift span, via the lift towers, by cables two inches in diameter. The lift span weighs 1.14 million pounds and is 271 feet long; the lift towers are 108 feet tall. Four through-truss spans
Fairview Lift Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 26, 2020
2. Fairview Lift Bridge Marker
The marker is second from the right.
ranging for 213 to 271 feet in length, and four girder-truss spans measuring from 48 to 60 feet long, are included in the 1,320-foot-long structure, including a long wood trestle on the west end, the bridge was 2,994 feet long, but in 1969 the trestle was filled over with 80,000 cubic yards of earth and gravel.

The bridge was designed by Waddell and Harrington of Kansas City and manufactured by the American Bridge Company of Gary, Indiana. Approximately 4.5 million pounds of steel were used in the bridge construction, which cost nearly $500,000.

The railroad structure also served as an automobile bridge soon after its completion however, traversing the bridge and the long trestle to the west was difficult. When Highway 23 was completed to the Yellowstone River in 1926, the bridge was modified to accommodate both modes of transportation. The deck was covered with wooden planking and access routes were constructed at each end. A wooden bridge provided access to the west bridge approach from the north. The duel use was still hazardous and a watchman was employed to operate the swing gate and telephone system, allowing automobiles to travel the bridge. The bridge was operated by the railroad as a toll bridge until 1937, when the State Highway Department assumed maintenance and the watchman's salary. This situation continued until 1955, when the Hjaimer
Fairview Lift Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 26, 2020
3. Fairview Lift Bridge Marker
Nelson Memorial Highway Bridge was constructed across the Yellowstone River. The last train to use the bridge traveled east to Watford City on June 5, 1966.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsRailroads & Streetcars.
 
Location. 47° 51.518′ N, 103° 58.158′ W. Marker is in Cartwright, North Dakota, in McKenzie County. Marker is on Black Top Road near State Highway 200. The marker is in Sundheim Park near the lift bridge. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Cartwright ND 58838, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Cartwright Tunnel (here, next to this marker); The Montana Eastern Railway Company (here, next to this marker); Hjalmer Nelson Memorial Bridge (here, next to this marker); Mining Lignite Coal (approx. 3˝ miles away in Montana); Plants of the Plains (approx. 8.6 miles away); Water Ways and Mean (approx. 8.6 miles away); Mosquitoes (approx. 8.8 miles away); Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence (approx. 8.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cartwright.
 
Fairview Lift Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 26, 2020
4. Fairview Lift Bridge
Fairview Lift Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 26, 2020
5. Fairview Lift Bridge
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 9, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 35 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 9, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Mar. 7, 2021