Aerial Lift Bridge Malfunction Causes Brief Delay

The repairs were made within 45 minutes

DULUTH, Minn. -The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge is raised and lowered a lot.

But just like any piece of equipment the bridge can malfunction.

Last Friday a 1,000 foot ship couldn’t pass through with its cargo because the bridge wouldn’t come up properly leveled

The captain ended up turning around and coming back and it was all caught on video.

By the time he made the turn the operator was able to level the bridge.

“There’s four speed switches and we had to change out a speed switch,” said Aerial Bridge Supervisor David Campbell. “It went out of adjustment, so we put a new one in and we’re back running. Everything’s back to normal.”

The bridge is the main entrance for around 90 percent of the commercial shipping traffic that comes in and of the Twin Ports Harbor.

Starting next month ships will lay up there for mechanical adjustments.

So keeping the lift bridge properly maintained to avoid problems is extremely important.

“All of the repair and maintenance can be done on the locks on the Great Lakes Seaway System as well as pieces of equipment like the Aerial Lift Bridge,” said Adele Yorde, Duluth Seaway Port Authority Public Relations.  “All of those things have their routine maintenance plans in place.”

This year alone more than 9,000 boats have traveled underneath the bridge and it’s been lifted almost 4,600 times.

The recent malfunction is not causing any big concerns.