That’s right. As a big proponent of motorcycling in North Dakota, I’m pretty happy to say that a motorcycle closed the books on “civilian” travel over our beloved bridge. If I may digress for a moment, I’d like to point out that this bridge was scary/fun back on a motorcycle back when it had the metal deck! Not only could a rider look straight below and see the water, but the gridwork made motorcycle tires “swim” back and forth in a manner most discomforting at first. Digression aside, those fine folks in the picture above were blocking off public traffic on this bridge forever. Maybe they sensed that I am a former DOT employee, maybe they were just being polite…in any case, they allowed me to park my motorcycle off to the side and wait to be the last guy across.
Someone in a white Ford Thunderbird actually got in behind me after I took off across the bridge from the Bismarck side. At that point I thought I’d missed my chance to be the last person across the bridge, and resigned myself to simply being the last motorcycle
across. But an idea struck as I reached the Mandan side: turn around. Not only did I want to take more pictures, but I had to get back to work! I’m very busy and didn’t have a very long lunch break. So, when I got to the Mandan side, I did a quick U-turn and headed back. That made me the last motorcycle and
last vehicle to cross.
This is what it looks like to have the Memorial Bridge all to yourself…that is, if you’re on a customized Suzuki with a camera hanging around your neck. This will live on as my last view of the bridge I’ve known all my life, even when I was living in Montana as a kid and looked forward to the “humming bridge” when we’d come to Bismarck to visit family.
My sources tell me that someone called KFYR-TV after their newscast to complain that he was the last guy across. That would have to have been either the person behind me in the white car, or the last person to come across from the Mandan side (before I did my u-turn). In any case, nobody came across from the Bismarck side after the white car and I, and nobody came across from the Mandan side after I did. I know because I sat at the red light on the east end of the bridge for what seemed forever, since I was wearing leather riding gear and was very hot. Nobody came up behind me. Sorry, whoever you are…the reports are accurate.
Farewell, beloved bridge. I’m glad I got to say goodbye.
Just as I got to drive on the Expressway Bridge shortly after it opened (I had my permit, my mom let me drive) I got to ride on this bridge right before it closed. I know, it’s odd to be so sentimental about local landmarks…but what can I say? I love Bismarck-Mandan. I always have. That’s why I started this website in the first place. I’m just thankful that I have a camera and can run around after things like this. It’s cool to document Bismarck-Mandan history and provide a viewpoint for the record.
By the way, I noted again today that Brad Feldman seems to have the same sort of sentimentality for our town. I really like his Around Town segments on KX news, as well as his knack for local information. I could tell from the tone of his report on the bridge closing on tonight’s news. It’s cool to see someone who has a love of their community and what’s going on here. Hopefully people who read my ramblings here will catch that sentimentality, then things like this bridge closing will seem a little more significant.