URS Corp. settles claim, but does not take blame for I-35W collapse

Engineering firm will pay $52.4 million to victims

August 24, 2010

One of the final chapters of the I-35W bridge collapsed was finished on Aug. 23, but the epilogue will seem endless for many.

URS Corp, the engineering firm linked to the I-35W bridge, agreed to pay $52.4 million to settle claims from the 2007 tragedy that killed 13 and wounded 145. A separate settlement for 34 victims totaled $7.7 million, and more than $2.2 million will be used for insurance claims while another $1.5 million will be used for a memorial at the bridge site.
Despite agreeing on the settlement, URS Corp. is still not accepting blame for the bridge collapse.

“URS was not involved in the design or building of the bridge, nor was it involved in any of the later construction work, including resurfacing work being done when the bridge collapsed,” said a statement released by the firm.

Still, URS Corp. thought it would be best to settle rather then pay ongoing litigation costs. Lawyers representing the victims sent a memo to Hennepin District Judge Deborah Hedlund claiming that URS documented that the bridge was “clearly overstressed” and “collapse would be imminent” if a cracked developed.

The URS settlement marked the third payout to the victims of the I-35W collapse. A fund set up by the Minnesota State Legislature generated $36.6 million, and an additional $10.1 million was collected when PCI Corp. settled.