MnDOT Bridge Inspections Continue To Improve After I-35 Bridge Collapse

MINNESOTA– 15 years ago the unthinkable happened in Minneapolis. One of Minnesota’s most popular bridges collapsed during rush hour, taking with it 13 lives and injuring many more.

In 2007, the I-35 bridge collapse sent shockwaves across the nation. Nearly immediately impacting the ways of bridge management and inspections.

Following the bridge failure, Minnesota Legislature increased funds for transportation.

“As a result of the legislation passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2008, chapter 152, MnDOT has been able to replace rehabilitation and repair 178 plus bridges.” Said Minnesota of Transportation(MnDOT) Assistant Engineer, Perry Collins.

Collins went on to explain MnDOT has made improvements to their inspection process. Including upgrades on software, gusset plates, and under bridge inspection vehicles.

“Recently we’ve also been using drones as an enhancement to our inspection program. It gives us the ability to access places that are difficult to otherwise.”

Collins turns to Minnesota’s harsh climate, saying it can result in bridge expansion and contraction.

“That means we’re using more snow and ice chemicals which can be hard on our own infrastructure as well.”

Currently, MnDOT is working on the twin ports interchange project. Along with maintenance repairs on the Blatnik Bridge, which Collins says is routine work to extend the bridges life.

“Our transportation system is safe, we do have elements of it that are in poor condition and do need to be addressed, and they are through our various funding programs.”

Yearly inspections will continue for the Blatnik Bridge, but MnDOT reports that the ultimate goal is to replace it.

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