The $55 million Four Bears Bridge over Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota serves as an example of combining exceptional levels of context-sensitive design with environment-specific engineering. Located near the Fort Berthold Reservation, the contract for the 4,500-ft long bridge incorporated panels and images representing the three local Native American tribes. In addition the contract stipulated that 60 percent of the labor force come from the local tribes. Engineering challenges included working in an environment with extreme temperatures. In order to accommodate the resulting creep and shrinkage, sliding modular bearings and expansion joints were used. Conical shaped footings were poured to withstand the 36 in. ice sheets that form in the North Dakota lake in the wintertime. The sloped edges of the footings are designed to allow the ice to slide up and break apart. Despite the various difficulties that were encountered, the bridge was finished on schedule and will be dedicated by three days of traditional ceremonies by local tribespeople. The old bridge, with its two 10-ft-wide lanes and lack of shoulders, is scheduled for demolition by the end of 2005.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    McGraw-Hill, Incorporated

    330 West 42nd Street
    New York, NY  United States  10036
  • Authors:
    • Cho, A
  • Publication Date: 2005-9-19


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 21-22
  • Serial:
    • ENR
    • Volume: 255
    • Issue Number: 11
    • Publisher: McGraw-Hill, Incorporated
    • ISSN: 0891-9526

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01005606
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 19 2005 2:04PM