« U.S. missiles strike Somali targets | Main | Cyclone kills 350 in Burma »

New 35W bridge to open in September

Construction on the new 35W bridge is on pace to be completed in September instead of December as originally planned, the Star Tribune reported Sunday.

Flatiron Construction announced Saturday that the bridge is already 65 percent complete and that the horizontal concrete pieces of the bridge could start to be put together as early as May 14. If the bridge opens in September, they will receive $20 million in federal funds as a reward for being ahead of schedule.

The bridge is estimated to cost $234 million. The entire project, including removal of the old bridge, will cost about $400 million.

The completion date will be within just a few days of the Republican Nation Convention to be held in St. Paul Sept. 1-4, but Kevin Gutknecht, an official with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said that the project would not be rushed to be done by the beginning of the convention.

"The priority on this project is safety and quality," Gutknecht said.

The old Interstate 35W bridge collapsed last August, killing 13 people.