Updated: 07/11/2014 6:17 AM
Created: 07/09/2014 10:37 PM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
The new Larpenteur Avenue bridge over Interstate 35E finished moving into place early Friday morning.
A representative from the Minnesota Department of Transportation says the move was completed around 2 a.m. Friday and that the bridge is now fully resting on the abutments and piers. Crews had closed Interstate 35E in both directions between Wheelock Parkway and Larpenteur Avenue from 10 p.m. Thursday through 5 a.m. Friday to complete the move; all lanes are now open to traffic.
A technique known as Slide in Bridge Construction was used to put the new span in place. The process started overnight Wednesday, but there were some problems; crews were only able to move the new bridge about halfway into place. There was some metal bending in places it wasn’t supposed to, delaying the process.
Slide in Bridge Construction has never been done in Minnesota until now. The process involves building the bridge on a temporary structure just four feet north of the existing bridge framework. Once the new span is completed, the old one is removed, and the 3.5 million pound replacement is prepared to be shoved into place by hydraulic jacks.
Project Manager Dave Herzog said that while it does cost roughly 15 percent more to build a sliding bridge, it is less disruptive.
"Doing this bridge under conventional methods, the closure would be about 110 days,” he said. “With the method we're using here, we're going to get it completed and open in about 47 days.”
Herzog say once the bridge is in place, it could take up to three weeks to connect Larpenteur Avenue and reopen lanes to traffic.