Larpenteur Ave. bridge project hits snag, I-35E to close again - FOX 32 News Chicago

Larpenteur Ave. bridge project hits snag, I-35E to close again

Posted: Updated:
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Larpenteur Avenue bridge "slide-in" construction project hit a snag overnight, and that meant Interstate 35E in St. Paul was not open before the 5 a.m. deadline and will have to close again.

Currently, I-35E is back open, but it will need to close Thursday night into Friday to fix the issue. Ironically, the method that the Minnesota Department of Transportation tried out for the first time is supposed to alleviate headaches for commuters by reducing the length of road closures. Usually, a bridge like the one being installed would take 110 days to complete. With the "slide-in" approach, it should take 47 days instead.

PHOTOS: Larpenteur Avenue 'slide-in' project

Although the work didn't go as planned late Wednesday and into Thursday, MnDOT officials said it should only bump their time table back by a day. Bridge beams and a deck were slid onto the new supports overnight using hydraulic jacks, but some of the fabricated pieces did not work as expected. The parts weigh 3.5 million pounds and were constructed on a temporary structure near the existing framework. Replacing the bridge is part of the I-35-E MnPASS project.

Unfortunately for drivers frustrated with the construction headache in the area, the snag means crews will have to close that portion of the Interstate again on Thursday night. MnDOT plans to shut down the two ramps before and beyond the Larpenteur Avenue bridge, and they hope to be finished by 5 a.m. The bridge itself is expected to be open in 3 weeks.

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