Update—after an especially warm spring day, MN-DOT inspectors discovered that one set of bridge bearings had once again reached its stop bracket. The stop bracket limits how far the bearing can slide, and it prevents the bridge from sliding off of the pier and falling into the water. Once the span hit the stop bracket, forces from the heating and cooling of the span apparently pushed the problem pier two inches further out of plumb. It also caused some bolts on the structure to shear off. As a result, MN-DOT closed the bridge at 10AM on Friday, April 25, 2008.
The 2008 legislative session pushed though a highway bonding bill. The Lowry Bridge replacement is one of the high priority projects. The bridge is expected to be started in 2009 and be completed by the end of 2010. The plan is to install a signature span. Finalists include a towering arch design, a single tower cable stayed bridge, and a more routine concrete box bridge.
I drove over this bridge on Wednesday afternoon.
Unfortunately it looks like our glorious state legislature (dominated by the Donks) will once again blow money on aesthetics over function. Bigger kickbacks I suppose.