Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Bridge Too Near

Minnesota seems determined to prove that they're the pennywise-pound foolish champion; bridge maintenance division:
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) -- 1,200-pound chunk of concrete tore off the underside of an overpass and rained down on motorists but caused no injuries, nearly a year after the deadly collapse of a Mississippi River bridge in neighboring Minneapolis.

The 6-foot-by-9-foot section fell Saturday from the Maryland Avenue bridge onto two vehicles, choking traffic on Interstate 35E for more than eight hours as crews inspected the overpass that shuttles nearly 140,000 motorists per day through downtown St. Paul.

The state Department of Transportation has deemed the 50-year-old bridge "structurally safe," said state bridge engineer Dan Dorgan.

The bridge was inspected last August. Officials knew the bridge deck was breaking down, but nothing suggested pieces would break off within the year, Dorgan said.

Deterioration of the concrete that caused the accident can be attributed partly to age, freeze-and-thaw cycles and road salt, he said.

....There are no plans for a broad inspection of freeway overpasses.

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