Sorlie Memorial Bridge
Built in 1929 by the Minneapolis Bridge Co. to connect Grand
Forks and East Grand Forks, the Sorlie Memorial Bridge is a
truss bridge with two truss spans and rides on rails to adapt to
the constantly changing banks of the Red River of the North.
The Sorlie Memorial Bridge is a truss bridge. A truss bridge
is composed of connected elements,
which are typically straight, that may be stressed from tension,
compression or sometimes both in response to the dynamic loads. A Parker truss bridge is a Pratt Truss design with a
polygonal upper chord. A "camelback" is a subset of the Parker
the upper chord consists of exactly five segments. The bridge was constructed to replace
an older swing bridge
that was built on the same site in 1889.
This type of bridge structure has a fairly simple design and
is particularly cheap to construct owing to its efficient use of
materials. For purposes of analysis most truss bridges may be
considered to be pin jointed where the straight components meet.
A more complex analysis may be required where rigid joints
impose significant bending loads upon the elements.
The bridge was named after North Dakota's 14th Governor,
Arthur G. Sorlie who served
from 1925-1928. Arthur Gustave Sorlie was born in Albert Lea,
Minnesota and resided in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He served as
the fourteenth Governor of North Dakota from
the years 1925 until his unexpected death in 1928 at the age
During the 1927 legislative session, Sorlie's political
enemies conspired to embarrass him
by publicly investigating the State Mill and Elevator and
calling for its removal from the governor's influence because of
inefficient management. Governor Sorlie died in office in 1928.
His body lay in state in the rotunda of the North Dakota State
The bridge was
placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Just this
year (2008) the Minnesota Department of
Transportation announced that it would begin replacing the
bridge in 2009.