Bridge Rated “Structurally Deficient”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports this morning that the Highway 35 bridge that collapsed last night was rated “structurally deficient” and possibly in need of replacement when it was inspected in 2005.
This will no doubt attract a lot of interest, and it certainly could prove to be important. But apparently many bridges receive the same evaluation, and inspections in 2006 and 2007 evidently didn’t reveal any cause for alarm. A 2001 report, which you can access off the page linked to above, concluded that the bridge did not require replacement because of fatigue cracking. The repair work that was underway at the time of the collapse was not structural in nature; it was limited to resurfacing, installing lighting, etc. So I don’t think it’s appropriate to jump to any conclusions at this point.
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