Bismarck-Mandan Interstate Bridge Celebrates 50th Anniversary

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Today is the 50th anniversary of a important event for Bismarck and Mandan motorists.

On Dec. 9, 1965, the section of interstate highway linking the two cities over the Missouri River was opened. The weather 50 years ago today was also unseasonably warm, with high temperatures in Bismarck reaching 45 degrees.

The $1.3 million project allowed traffic to bypass traffic lights on Main Street in Bismarck, the two-lane Liberty Memorial Bridge and signal lights on the Strip and Main Street in Mandan.

"It was a huge time-saving for the traveling public and also for the people who lived in our communities and for getting around town," said Bennet Kubischta, North Dakota Department of Transportation.

The new interstate bridge allowed commuters to cut anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes off the trip between the two cities.

On Jan. 10, the Department of Transportation will present a program on the interstate system through North Dakota in the Heritage Center from 2 to 3:30 p.m.