Bridge’s sagging beam causes Mn/DOT to shut down busy freeway lanes

The temporary bridge is part of Crosstown Commons construction project.

.MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A sagging bridge forced the closure of a busy freeway that runs under the bridge Monday, snarling rush-hour traffic for miles.

The bridge crosses Interstate 35W about six miles south of the Mississippi River, where a 40-year-old bridge on the same freeway collapsed almost three months ago, killing 13 and injuring about 100.

Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Kent Barnard said there was no risk of another collapse.

“We were just erring on the side of caution,” Barnard said. “Obviously things are a little more sensitive right now.”

The problematic bridge is part of a major construction project to rework a tangle of roads known as the Crosstown Commons. It’s intended to be a temporary bridge to carry westbound traffic on Highway 62 over the interstate while crews remove the old bridge and build a replacement.

It had not yet been opened to traffic.

The project supervisor shut down the freeway lanes under the bridge after noticing that one of the temporary bridge’s beams was sagging. Crews removed some of the asphalt, and the freeway lanes were reopened after being closed for about 2 1/2 hours.

Barnard said state bridge inspectors would examine the temporary bridge Tuesday, and further steps would be decided after the inspection.