Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Bridge's Problems

Captain's Quarters keeps us informed:

Inspection reports on the St. Anthony Bridge show one of the pier supports had shifted in 1996, and made numerous observations of cracks and fatigue in the approach spans in the years since. MnDOT repaired most of these, but the bridge continued to show more significant problems in the years approaching its devastating collapse:

State bridge inspectors warned for nearly a decade before its collapse that the Interstate 35W bridge had "severe" and "extensive" corrosion of its beams and trusses, "widespread cracking" in spans and missing or broken bolts.

Not only was the superstructure in poor condition, but certain components were "beyond tolerable limits," and one of the bridge's piers had "tilted to the north," they reported.

By 2000, the inspectors wrote that "eventual replacement of the entire structure would be preferable" to redecking the bridge. They added: "If bridge replacement is significantly delayed, the bridge should be re-decked."

That recommendation was repeated in every report afterward, but it never happened.

Apparently the Mn DOT never brought these reports to the attention of the Governor, whether Pawlenty or Ventura...

Seems to me that when a bridge-pier starts "tilting" that you have pretty serious stuff.

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