Plans unveiled for bridge replacement in Minneapolis

| 10/9/2007

The Minnesota DOT has awarded a contract and released the design for the replacement of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis.

The eight-lane bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed during rush hour Aug. 1, killing 13 people and injuring 100.

Since then, the state has fast-tracked plans for a replacement that will include a memorial to the victims.

State Department of Transportation officials chose Flatiron Constructors Inc., Manson Construction Co. and Figg Bridge Engineers Inc., to build a design by Figg Bridge Engineers Inc.

The bridge will include a twin five-lane span of high-performance concrete on land-anchored pillars, built-in sensors to help engineers monitor future maintenance needs as well as capacity for a future light-rail system. The winning bid was $234 million.

The Federal Highway Administration granted Minnesota $250 million in federal funds for the replacement. Millions have already been spent in relief. State officials have previously estimated the whole relief effort, replacement and memorial could cost $393 million.

A project official stated in a MNDOT press release that construction will begin in November.

The former bridge carried 141,000 vehicles per day. Those drivers will continue to use alternative routes until the estimated completion in December 2008.

The DOT promised to pay millions extra to the construction team for early delivery.

Officials will call a public forum to discuss the appearance of support piers and the proposed memorial to the victims.

The U.S. has 73,784 bridges classified as structurally deficient, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

– By David Tanner, staff writer