Project Updates

November 6, 2023

Mid to late this week crews will begin working in two 10-hour shifts to remove material from the cofferdam in which the pier on the western edge of the river will be constructed. The shifts for this work will be 6AM to 4PM, and 4 PM to 2AM during this approximate two-week period. Night operations will follow noise mitigation measures and lighting will be directed toward the specific work area.

Also this week instead of the vibratory hammer that has been used on the project site, a transitional impact hammer will be utilized. Different more distinct sounds are associated with it and likely will be noticed by residents. The machines are used to drive the sheet pile for the cofferdam. This work will be limited to daylight hours.

We anticipate H pile driving mid-month, also during daytime operations.


October 27, 2023

Crews working on the BNSF Railway bridge project plan to complete the cofferdam and drive H pile for pier 8 on the western edge of the river this fall. To get the cofferdam work done before more winter weather sets in, crews will be working in two 10-hour shifts likely starting later next week and lasting for about two weeks. Work shifts will be 6am-4pm and 4pm-2am.

During the two shifts, teams will use a crane with a clam shell bucket to scoop sand and soil out of the cofferdam, which is the area where the pier will be constructed. Night time operations will follow noise mitigation measures such as reducing equipment operated, as well as directing lights required toward the limited work area.

Once the cofferdam soil is removed, beginning approximately November 10, H pile driving will occur. That work will take place during daylight hours. Subsequent updates will provide more precise dates for pile driving.

September 2023

Fill is added for embankment of the new bridge north of existing structure.

September 2023

As long as the weather allows, work will continue on BNSF Railway’s bridge project in Bismarck and Mandan. Trucks continue to bring in fill for building the embankment of the new bridge. On the west edge of the river, the dock wall is nearly finished. It will facilitate loading equipment and material onto barges for constructing the river piers next spring.

In the coming week, crews will start installing sheet piling for the first pier to be constructed, pier 8 on the west side of the project. Work is planned for daylight operations Monday through Friday unless circumstances change, and should take place the first few weeks of October.

View of the dock wall constructed on west side of the river.

August 2023

On Monday, August 14, crews will start installing sheet piling along the west bank of the river on the BNSF Railway bridge project. The sheet piling will be installed using vibratory equipment and is part of the construction of a dock wall. Work is planned through August, Monday through Friday from approximately 7am – 6pm unless conditions change.

The dock wall will stay in place for the duration of the project so material and equipment, such as steel pile, rebar and cranes from the shore can be transferred onto barges to construct the river piers.

Additionally, crews are finishing work on the access road built on the DOT Expressway right of way. Construction traffic to and from the site utilizes the road. Trucks are continuing to bring in fill material to the west side of the site for the new embankment.

July 14, 2023

To support construction of the new BNSF Railway bridge, an access road for construction traffic is being constructed on DOT right of way, adjacent to the Expressway. This access road is nearing completion and it is anticipated that trucking operations will begin next week. Trucks will be bringing in fill material from the Bismarck side of the river, utilizing the truck route, crossing Memorial bridge, and then will enter the access road on the DOT right of way to gain access to the west side of the bridge project site. The truckloads of fill will be used to construct embankment for the new track alignment. Additional trucks will be hauling in crane equipment and other construction material.

June 2023

Construction is scheduled to begin Wednesday, June 21, on the Memorial Highway exit ramp and northbound Interstate 194 south of the BNSF Railway underpass in Mandan.

This project involves construction of an access road to support the BNSF Railway Missouri River Bridge project.

During construction of the access road on the DOT right-of-way, a shoulder closure will be installed on the Memorial Highway exit ramp and lane closure on northbound Interstate 194 to the BNSF Railway underpass. A 12-foot width restriction will be in place on the exit ramp.

Flaggers may be used to help direct traffic through construction, and the speed limit will be reduced through the corridor. Some minimal delays for the public traversing the corridor are expected.

The construction is expected to be completed in July.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation would like to remind motorists to slow down and use caution throughout the work zone.

For more information about construction projects and road conditions throughout North Dakota, call 511 or visit the ND Roads map at

May 2023

To minimize impact to the public, BNSF Railway worked with the North Dakota Department of Transportation for a seasonal approach to accessing the construction site. In the summer, trucks hauling equipment and material for the project will use a specific ramp off the interstate to reduce wear and tear on local roads. Outside of summer months, trucks and equipment will use a combination of public roads, DOT property, and private property.


Bismarck Map

April 2023

The United States Coast Guard, as the lead federal agency on the Bismarck rail bridge replacement, has issued the permit needed for BNSF Railway to construct its new bridge. BNSF has obtained all other permits and approvals to proceed. Tree clearing on BNSF property has started on the east and west sides of the river.