The River's Badge

Monday, October 6, 2008

They Blew Up The Memorial Bridge Today

Well, they blew up one third of it. Of course, the other two thirds aren't worth much now - ha.

The Memorial Bridge was 86 years old, and it was only built to last 50. It spanned the Missouri River between Bismarck and Mandan. Its official name was Liberty Memorial Bridge, but no one called it that.

When I was a kid, we lived on the Mandan side, on the "Strip", which was actually about a five mile stretch between the river and the actual city of Mandan. So, we didn't really live in Mandan or Bismarck. Of course, if we wanted to shop, we went across the river to Bismarck (no one shopped in Mandan, unless you were looking for western wear or really needed to go to Ben Franklin, because basically those were the only two places to shop in Mandan - Neuen's Western Store and Ben Franklin - sorry, Mandan!)

So, my friend, Alice, and I would either walk across the bridge or take the bus. It was a long walk, though.

When I grew up and lived in Bismarck, ironically, I worked in Mandan, so I drove across that bridge many, many times between 1974 and 1976, and again from 1988 to 1990.

In the early days, I was driving a '66 blue Chevy Impala with no power steering or power breaks. The bridge at that time had a metal grid, so when you drove over it, you felt like your car was swerving around. I didn't care for that. Later, they replaced the metal grid with concrete.

I happened to have the day off today, so I watch the demolition live on the net. I didn't even know they were taking down the bridge until I read about it yesterday on the Bismarck-Mandan Blog.

It was a jarring experience, watching a big part of my personal history go BOOM! Just like that! And sad. I guess if and when I ever go back for a visit, I'd better watch my P's & Q's, or I might accidentally head for the bridge to get over to Mandan, and oops! I'm in the river!

Here's a video I found of the implosion. I notice they did the Mandan side first. I'm pretty sure it wasn't to keep Mandan people from going to Bismarck. (ha! I kid Mandan, but I actually graduated from Mandan High.)

So, bye bye to yet another memory. Everything changes, and unfortunately, usually not for the better.




Oh, I almost forgot. Here's a picture that my son, Chris, took of the bridge for a photography class. I love this picture.

video

(Another view, from the program, The Detonators)

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