Feb 20, 2012

More Bad Luck With Bridges

I must say, Minneapolis has bad luck with bridges.

This morning I arose to reports that the Sabo Bridge was closed to traffic due to a cable problem, and in fact the Light Rail and Hiawatha Ave. (which the Sabo bridge goes over) were also closed to traffic.

I have been fighting a bad cold, but I shrugged off the blankets and went up there this morning to see what was to be seen and shoot a few photos before this gets cleaned up.

It looks like the two eastern-most cables (the longest ones) separated from the tower on the bridge and slithered down from their anchors on the sides of the bridge.

Early reports from the Star Tribune indicate that two other sets of cables are also severely "compromised" and workers were placing shoring under the bridge today. Apparently, somebody was walking across the bridge last night at about 10:30 and found the cables laying on the deck of the bridge. The clear-thinking citizen called "311" and reported it. That's one 311 report the City jumped on, apparently, because it was closed right after that.

The Sabo bridge opened for business in November 2007 at a cost of $5.1 million, and it has become the iconic symbol of Minneapolis bike infrastructure. It's so new that the problem has to be a design or construction flaw rather than lack of maintenance, I would guess.

I am hoping a security camera caught the cable snapping. I would have loved to have seen that - it would have been on hell of a KER-TWAING.

Depending on what happened, I can foresee this bridge being closed for awhile. If the main tower is sinking, or the footings are shifting, that would be a lengthy repair, I suspect. On another note, the design engineer for this bridge was the same as for the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi.

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