The Minnesota Department of Transportation reopened Interstate 35W over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis at 5 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18. The new 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.
Mn/DOT says its project team focused on reopening the I-35W corridor as quickly as was safely possible. The closure and resulting detours cost Minnesotans more than $400,000 a day in added travel and other expenses. “I am pleased to announce that motorists will cross the Mississippi River on I-35W more than three months earlier than planned,” said Mn/DOT Commissioner Tom Sorel. “Building a high-quality and safe bridge in less than a year happened because of the dedication, professionalism and incredible determination of those who planned, designed and built it.”
Prior to the opening, officials from Mn/DOT, project contractors Flatiron-Manson Joint Venture and FIGG Bridge designers performed 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.
Flatiron-Manson was given notice to proceed on construction on Oct. 15, 2007. Sept. 15 marked 337 days of construction work on the project. “Hundreds of workers have worked around the clock since Nov. 1,” Sorel said. “Their hard work and attention to detail, as well as the project’s extensive safety and quality inspection programs, provide us confidence that this bridge will carry traffic safely for at least 100 years. Minnesota should be very proud of its work force today, as well as the families of workers who have supported their efforts.”
Other partners who helped make the project possible include the Federal Highway Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard, Department of Natural Resources, the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County and many others.