Design for new Minnesota bridge unveiled

Bridge is expected to open by the end of 2008

News The Associated Press October 09, 2007
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The design for the I-35W replacement bridge was made public Oct. 8 by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the companies it hired to build the bridge.

The new bridge, which is expected to open by the end of next year, will be a concrete bridge set atop 70-ft, land-based piers. The collapsed bridge, which was a major link to northern Minneapolis and its suburbs when it collapsed Aug. 1, was steel.

The new bridge combines twin, five-lane spans and will include features the collapsed bridge did not, such as highly durable concrete, built-in sensors for monitoring its structural integrity and multiple backup systems.

It also will be built to accommodate a light rail transit line in the future and a possible suspension bridge underneath for pedestrian traffic. The plan also calls for parks with observation decks below the bridge.

"It is a sculptural bridge where the form and the function work with proportion and elegance to create a model for other bridges in America," said Linda Figg, president of the FIGG Bridge Engineers design firm.

A ceremonial groundbreaking is likely to be held next week, but the heavy work probably won't start until November, said Peter Sanderson, the project manager for Flatiron Constructors Inc.

Flatiron and Manson Construction Co., will build the bridge. The contract requires completion by Christmas Eve 2008, although the builders can earn multimillion-dollar bonuses for finishing before that.

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