« Truck pile-up in California freeway tunnel | Main | Press conference analysis »

I-35 replacement bridge design unveiled

The design of the new Interstate 35W bridge was revealed during a news conference at the state Capitol on Monday.
Unveiling of the new Minneapolis bridge, a 1,216-foot concrete span, came after state officials signed a $234 million contract with a joint venture led by Colorado-based Flatiron Constructors. Designed with the theme of “Arches, Water, Reflection,� the bridge will have observation decks around the main piers, sculptural elements near the approaches and twin stylized arches of decorative lighting along the roadway.
The bridge, slated for completion by Christmas Eve 2008, will also have two parallel spans with five traffic lanes in each direction.
Flatiron won the contract after a controversial bidding process that brought protests from two of the three unsuccessful bidders.
Investigators with the Minnesota Department of Administration sided with the Minnesota Department of Transportation on Monday, urging that the state approve the award after finding to flaws with how MnDot scored the proposals, despite Flatiron’s bid being $57 million more than the lowest bid.
According to Flatiron’s manager of the project, Peter Sanderson, local workers will be used to build the bridge, and most of the construction will take place in Minnesota. Prefabricated parts will be assembled in St. Paul and then floated on barges to the bridge site as part of an accelerated construction process known as “design-build.�
The bridge designer, Figg Engineering, is known for its aesthetically pleasing bridges. According to the Pioneer Press, the design “offers clean, simple lines and a minimalist look.�
While debris is still being cleared from the collapse site, the initial site preparation will begin immediately. Sanderson said he hope to begin construction in earnest no later than Nov. 1.
The new I-35W bridge will not be “fracture critical,� meaning it won’t collapse if one component fails, unlike the old steel-girder bridge that collapsed on Aug. 1. The cause of the collapse that killed 13 remains under investigation.

Pioneer Press:
http://www.twincities.com//ci_7122021?IADID=Search-www.twincities.com-www.twincities.com