Highway 83 closed during cable belt bridge removal

WASHBURN, N.D. - Highway 83 is closed between Underwood and Washburn to allow the Falkirk Mining Company to remove the cable belt bridge that has been crossing overhead for years.

The director of government and public affairs for Falkirk Mining Company says the reason it’s being taken down is because it's not economical to have it anymore.

If you were driving on driving on US highway 83 by Underwood and Washburn Monday, you may have hit a roadblock.

It's been closed so Falkirk Mining Company could remove a cable belt bridge. This bridge was used to transport coal for over 25 years.

The bridge was used to transport coal for over 25 years.

"We used to use for coal transportation across the highway, we actually have a truck dump on the east side of the highway and we transferred that coal over to the power plant via this conveyor and there's also a tunnel around that conveyor just to catch that coal should any ever blow off," said Straley.

Falkirk mining company leaders say it hasn't been used since 2001, and its found a better option.

"Those coal haul trucks can hold 200 tons per load and we find it much more economical and efficient to haul the coal across rather than the conveyor belt," he added.

He says the company plans on operating the mine up to the year 2045 and will be recycling the materials and will be sold for scrap iron.

Straley says the bridge has hauled 30 million tons of coal over its lifetime, and the department of transportation will be opening the road within 24 hours. ​