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Thread: Minnesota bridge collapse!

  1. #1
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Default Minnesota bridge collapse!
    (membership needed for gallery - Story can be gotten to once I think before having to have membership)

    Looks like the center portion snapped, maybe near the "far side" of the bridge. This caused the collapse of the land side and a pulling/colapse of the "near" side.

    I would bet money on fatigue, because rust and decay are easily spotted in structural examinations.

    If this bridge was not detailed properly for prolonged use, fatigue stress of key elements in the bridge could cause catestrophic failure. I smell a lawsuit and an engineering company in a heap of trouble

  2. #2


    I understand the magnitude of this event will jolt even the most jaded, but this news has really truly shocked the bejeezus out of me. So awfully stunning

    The one good thing that will result from this is that our country's infrastructure will get the attention - and hopefully funding - it deserves. This issue of deferred maintenance has (perhaps not so) coincidentally been in the news here in Boston on a recurring basis for the past half year or so as we try to figure out what to do with two central city highways: the Storrow Drive and the Longfellow Bridge, both of which look horrible.

    And some of you may remember what happened in Albany two summers ago:

    That is a deck piece you see there, precariously sitting on the ledge of a column that was shifting away from it. Luckily traffic travels left to right on that connector ramp so that those who first came across this were just treated to a sudden drop, rather than the opposite (hitting a 3-foot-tall concrete wall at 45 mph). There were no fatalities.

  3. #3
    **Rock Star** Mohamed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006


    It was a good bridge

  4. #4


    ^ Not good enough.

  5. #5


    "We're engaged in a very wide range of reconstruction and rehabilitation projects all over the country,"

    "..... over the past six weeks more than $1 billion has been committed for several thousand projects."

  6. #6


    Well, once we get Iraq's infrastructure all tip-top and squared away, we can address ...


    New Orleans?

    The Connecticut Turnpike?



  7. #7

    October 9, 2007

    The design for the I-35W replacement bridge is unveiled

    With the disputed highest bid and selection process declared error-free, work on the 'best and safest' replacement I-35W bridge will begin immediately.

    Pioneer Press

    Option A

    Option B

    The new Interstate 35W bridge will be a 1,216-foot concrete span, completed by Christmas Eve 2008, and will last well into the next century, project backers announced Monday.

    After state officials signed a $234 million contract with a joint venture led by Colorado-based Flatiron Constructors, the design of the new Minneapolis bridge was unveiled during a news conference at the state Capitol. With a design theme of "Arches, Water, Reflection," the bridge will have observation decks around the main piers, sculptural elements near the approaches and decorative lighting in the form of twin stylized arches rising along the roadway.

    "We will build the best and the safest bridge for all Minnesotans," said Flatiron's Peter Sanderson, the manager of the project, which will actually have two parallel spans with five traffic lanes in each direction.

    Flatiron, whose partnership includes Seattle-based Manson Construction, Florida-based Johnson Bros. and Figg Engineering, also of Florida, won the contract after a controversial bidding process that led to protests by two of three unsuccessful bidders.

    Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Administration sided with the Minnesota Department of Transportation on Monday, recommending that the state approve the award after finding no fault with how MnDOT scored the proposals, even though Flatiron's bid was $57 million more than the lowest bid.

    "We're very proud of that determination," said MnDOT's Bob McFarlin, calling the decision "a very strong statement that MnDOT ran this process according to the law."

    Dean Thomson, lawyer for the two teams that protested the award - Maple Grove-based C.S. McCrossan and a joint venture of Burnsville-based Ames Construction and Black River Falls, Wis.-based Lunda Construction - said he would take a close look at how MnDOT rated each proposal.

    "We intend to take a careful review of all the data and we will determine what is appropriate for the protesters and the public," Thomson said.

    After signing the contract, MnDOT released details about the bidding process that had formerly been kept secret. The agency is expected to release more information today.

    Sanderson said local workers will be used to build the bridge, and that most of the construction will take place in Minnesota. Prefabricated parts of the bridge will be assembled in St. Paul and then floated on barges to the site as part of an accelerated construction process known as "design-build."

    The new I-35W bridge will not be "fracture critical," meaning it won't collapse if one component fails. The old steel-girder bridge, which collapsed into the Mississippi River on Aug. 1, killing 13, was one such span. The cause of the failure remains under investigation.

    The bridge designer, Figg Engineering, is known for its aesthetically pleasing bridges, usually built using concrete. Indeed, the I-35W design offers clean, simple lines and a minimalist look.

    Lead designer Linda Figg said she drew on both the historic Stone Arch Bridge and the futuristic Guthrie Theater for inspiration.

    "Our philosophy is creating bridges as art," Figg said. "We are all focused on a world-class, aesthetically pleasing bridge."

    Although the target for completion is December 2008, Flatiron could earn a $27 million bonus if it finishes 100 days early. It also faces penalties for finishing late.

    "We are completely confident in making the deadline," Sanderson said.

    Debris is still being cleared, but initial site preparation will get under way immediately. Sanderson said he hopes to begin construction in earnest no later than Nov. 1.

    The public will have some input on the bridge, Figg said, though it would be limited to such issues as the shape of the piers and the span's color. Drawings show it white, but a sandstone tint is also a possibility, Figg said.

    Last week, MnDOT officials told legislators the total cost of the bridge stood at $393 million, a figure that could go even higher. Federal officials have pledged $250 million for the rebuild, and MnDOT has said it is in talks with the Federal Highway Administration for $315 million in federal relief.

    Also Monday, MnDOT shed more light on its bid evaluation process. Although other bids were less expensive or took less time to build, Flatiron won because of a superior technical rating that pushed it over to the top when all the project factors were considered.

    Jon Chiglo, MnDOT's project manager, said an evaluation committee did not know the price of each proposal, nor how long each would take to build. All six members of the review committee rated Flatiron's proposal best, giving it an average score that far exceeded any other proposal.

    Members of the committee gave different reasons for favoring Flatiron, from the experience of the team to the project's layout to the inclusion of public input.

    "They were the team that really stepped up and were going to give a voice to other people," said committee member Kevin Western, an assistant state bridge engineer.

    Although the protesting bidders raised concerns that Flatiron's public affairs plan - which counted for 15 out of a total of 100 points in MnDOT's rating system - could have pushed it over the top and led to the selection of a more expensive bid, that doesn't appear to be the case.

    Although Flatiron's proposal was ranked the highest in that category, other teams also did well.

    "In fact, if the public relations scores are eliminated from consideration completely, the outcome in this case does not change," the Department of Administration report says.

    Although the Department of Administration's report is only advisory, Lt. Gov. and MnDOT Commissioner Carol Molnau immediately moved to finalize the bid.

    Online: View other images of the bridge, watch video illustrations and comment on the design at

    Jason Hoppin can be reached at or 651-292-1892.


    Twin spans: Two parallel, concrete box-girder spans.

    Lanes: Five in each direction.

    Dimensions: 1,216 feet, including a 504-foot main span over the Mississippi River; 70-foot main piers are on land, not in river.

    Construction: Expected to start within days; completion by Dec. 24, 2008.

    Estimated cost: $234 million. Additional costs, including right of way and removal of collapsed bridge, increase estimated total project cost to about $393 million.

    Safety: Multiple layers of redundancy, so if one section fails, the bridge remains standing.

    Technology: State-of-the-art sensor and monitoring system.

    Design features: Greenscaping/landscaping throughout project area; observation platforms at base of main piers; open railing for better view of river valley; "gateway monuments" at bridge approaches, plus decorative lighting on bridge deck; light-rail ready; potential for pedestrian crossing beneath bridge; bridge color and design of main piers will be decided after public comment period.

    Copyright 2007

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