'Unprecedented' Effort to Inspect 180 Northland Bridges After Flood
During the next two weeks, six teams of bridge engineers will inspect at least 180 bridges across northern Minnesota after devastating floods tore through 13 counties last month, leaving at least $100 million dollars in damage and raising questions about the safety of some bridge spans across the Northland.
"We're not exactly sure how much damage we're going to find," acknowledged Beth Petrowske, spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Transportation in northern Minnesota.
On Tuesday, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS accompanied a two-person inspection team, one of six led by consultants SEH Inc., a St. Paul-based engineering and architectural firm with an office in Duluth that MnDOT has hired in a contract worth up to $500,000.
MnDOT did not have enough bridge inspectors on its own to visit so many bridges in such a short time, Petrowske said, and turned to outside consultants for help.
As bridge engineer Joe Litman with LHB Corp. surveyed some of the damage over a culvert in Duluth's Keene creek, he pointed to a section under the bridge that seemed suspended in mid-air and remarked, "There's literally nothing holding this section up."
"It's a floating road," Litman said.
Watch our story above to go along on the inspections and learn more about what they're looking for.
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