St. Cloud bridge Web site

MPR’s Tom Weber passes along that MnDOT has now set up a section on its Web site for the now-closed DeSoto bridge in St. Cloud. Of particular interest is a copy of the August 3, 2007 inspection of the bridge, ordered by Gov. Pawlenty after the I-35W bridge collapsed. The St. Cloud bridge employs the same design.

“No critical deficiencies were observed during this inspection. Also, no new deficiencies since the last annual inspection were found during this inspection,” the report said. It was a 10-hour inspection.

But the inspection, apparently, did not include gusset plates, the pieces of steel that connect beams together. An inadequate design has been cited as a possible reason for the I-35W collapse.

Findings in a National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the I-35W bridge collapse have pointed to flawed gusset plates as a critical factor, leading to a greater sensitivity about their condition.

Today, however, Acting Commissiioner of Transportation Bob McFarlin said the plates apparently weren’t studied in the August inspection. “They were not examined in the past by anybody, this is something new for all states across the country,” McFarlin said.

The August inspection was primarily examining corrosion.

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