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Work on trail bridge in Bemidji delayed

BEMIDJI - Work on the main span of the Paul Bunyan State Trail bridge here is being postponed because it didn't meet the state Department of Transportation's specifications.

The work, which was to close Highway 197 at First Avenue starting at 9 tonight, will be delayed until the manufacturer corrects a deficiency and weather conditions are suitable, a news release Monday said.

"The bridge did not meet MNDOT specifications," John Filardo, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Northwest Region engineer, said. "The manufacturer is correcting the deficiency and installation should occur in a couple of weeks."

Once completed, the steel truss bridge over Highway 197 (Bemidji Avenue and Paul Bunyan Drive) will provide 2,740 feet of trail with bituminous surfacing for bicycle, pedestrian and snowmobile trail use connecting the existing trail system.

The bridge will include a 12-foot walkway with a concrete deck, handrails, and decorative abutments and piers with architectural details to match the bridge over the Mississippi River. It also will have a 54-square foot trail logo/sign of Paul Bunyan at the bridge mid-point on both sides.

The $1.75 million project was funded by the 2011 legislative session through bonding. It is a cooperative effort among the DNR, city of Bemidji, Minnesota Department of Transportation and Ottertail Power Company.