May 14, 2018 07:01 PM
A Minnesota landmark for more than a century, the historic Stone Arch Bridge is in danger of being closed down within weeks, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
"It's likely," MnDOT Planning and Hydraulics Engineer Amber Blanchard said Monday.
The reasoning behind it is due to engineers saying they need $13 million to repair the deteriorating stone blocks and mortar that make-up the bridge. While that request was included in Gov. Mark Dayton's bonding bill proposal, it has not been included in either the House or Senate's proposals, meaning it's unlikely MnDOT will see the money this legislative session.
Blanchard said MnDOT wouldn't necessarily need the entire $13 million allotment to keep the bridge open, however, they would need at least $1 million for regular inspections.
"If we don't have the money to monitor it, then we don't know what the condition is," Blanchard explained, adding that without knowing the condition of the bridge, engineers would need to shut it down as a precautionary measure.
"As a bridge professional, I don't see any reason that it would, you know, a chunk would fall into the Mississippi tomorrow. It's in good condition. It's a stout bridge. But like I said, we just won't have the resources available to keep monitoring it, and if that's the case, we want to err on the side of safety," she said.
So far, Blanchard said there is no specific timetable for a shutdown.
Lawmakers are considering other funding sources as well. For example, House Republicans have floated the idea of using money from a Minnesota State Lottery trust fund to pay for the necessary repairs, according to a spokesperson. That spokesperson also added that the money could still be added to their bonding bill proposal, with a decision needing to be made within the next week.
Updated: May 14, 2018 07:01 PM
Created: May 14, 2018 03:02 PM
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