I-35W Bridge To Open Thursday

September 15, 2008

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The Minnesota Department of Transportation will reopen Interstate 35W over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis at 5 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18.

The bridge collapsed during rush hour Aug. 1, 2007, killing 13 people and injuring about 100 others. The tragedy has led to calls for improved infrastructure funding.

Prior to the opening, officials from Mn/DOT, project contractors Flatiron-Manson Joint Venture and FIGG Bridge designers will do a final walk-through and inspection of the bridge and its surroundings.

Contractors will continue final project work at off-site areas and the project office in the coming weeks, but no closure or traffic disruptions are expected with those activities.

To open the bridge at 5 a.m. Thursday, Minnesota state troopers will line up across the highway lanes at each end of the northbound and southbound spans of the bridge, allowing public traffic to line up behind them. Once construction barricades are removed, troopers will drive slowly across the bridge, passing in the middle and allowing other vehicles to follow behind them and begin using the highway.

West River Parkway on the south side of the river, and Second Street on the north side, will open to traffic concurrently with the new I-35W Bridge.

The I-35W Bridge was completed just more than 13 months after its predecessor collapsed Aug. 1, 2007. The cause of the collapse remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is expected to release a final report in November.

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