Sagging bridge closes I-35W; Oberstar unveils bridge funding bill

| Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The nation’s bridges are once again making headlines.

In Minneapolis, westbound lanes of Interstate 35 are open to traffic again after being shut down on Monday, Oct. 29, because a bridge that crosses the interstate on the city’s south side was sagging.

The temporary bridge, which carries State Highway 62 traffic, was repaired. Inspectors said there was never any fear of a collapse.

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep James Oberstar, D-MN, introduced a $2 billion bill that would force states to upgrade the training of bridge inspectors and require that all structurally deficient bridges be inspected once a year.

Oberstar’s bill does not contain the 5-cent fuel tax increase he had proposed earlier as a way of paying for bridge repairs.

In related news, a new study done for Better Roads Magazine showed that the number of structurally deficient and obsolete bridges across the country improved by less than one-half of 1 percent last year.

The study also says Rhode Island has the most structurally deficient bridges at 53 percent. Nevada has the fewest at 4 percent.

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