Bridges or Barack?

This is the sort of stuff that can the conspiracy theorists’ cranked up.

1. Barack Obama grabs the headlines with an amazing turnout in St. Paul.

2. Tim Pawlenty, the Republican governor, is said to be in the running to be John McCain’s running mate. McCain is running against Obama.

3. Shortly before Obama’s appearance at the Xcel Center, Pawlenty’s Department of Transportation schedules a news conference in Winona for 8 p.m. to announce yet another bridge closing over the Mississippi River.

Engineers will spend the week inspecting gusset plates on the bridge. Says a MnDOT news release, “Although the Highway 43 Mississippi River bridge in Winona was inspected last year, Mn/DOT is performing additional inspections on all state bridges with gusset plates similar to the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed last August.”

The Highway 43 bridge closing means the nearest alterantives are the Highway 25 bridge to the north at Wabasha; and the Interstate 90 bridge to the south between La Crescent, Minnesota, and La Crosse, Wisconsin. That’s a one-hour detour to cross the river.

  • Digger

    Bob — Suggest you & MPR follow the paper trail: Request from MnDOT any/all docs and data about how the press conference and its timing came about.

  • nt

    I live in Winona and this is big news here. There are several thousand people who live just across the river in Wisconsin, who now have to drive 65 minutes to work rather than 15. with gas at $4, this really sucks!

  • Bob Collins

    Yeah, a half hour down and a half hour up detour really stinks.

    But at least they closed the bridge before it could fall, I guess.

    I think what we need to find out is why bridges that passed inspections within the last year are suddently being closed. Is it that the inspections then weren’t that thorough? Did the bridges deteriorate that much in the last half year or so? Or is it simply a newfound determination to be more proactive?

  • kevin

    I don’t know if y’all remember, but a bridge actually fell down last year. Maybe they’ve learned things from it that they didn’t know or didn’t pay enough attention to in the past.

  • c

    correct me if I am wrong, but I just came from the Post Office and isn’t the Winona Bridge on the new stamp for commemorating Minnesota’s 150 years?

    and I thought that there was a blog written up about Pawlenty not being invited to McCains Potential VP Candidate Backyard Wiennie Roast?