Minn. Bridges Examined in Wake of Wash. Bridge Collapse
The 2007 Interstate-35W bridge collapse was a major wake-up call in Minnesota and across the country when it comes to the condition of all our bridges.
Less than a year after that tragedy killed 13 people, the 2008 Minnesota Legislature called for MnDOT to identify and address all "structurally deficient" or "fracture critical" bridges. When that list was finished, it totaled 172 bridges in one or both of those categories. So far, 89 of those bridges have been repaired or replaced, including the Hastings Bridge and the Lafayette Bridge in St. Paul. The state is on pace to finish work on the other 83 by 2018.
In addition to that work, the state also has hired 50 percent more bridge inspectors and given them better equipment.
"In the way of inspections we now use some advanced inspection equipment that tells us much more about our bridges," says Nancy Daubenberger, the state bridge engineer.
She says the state also has a much better database that helps them track the condition of bridges.