A damaged bridge piling has prompted the closure of close a nearly two-mile stretch of Interstate 35 in Duluth.
On Thursday, inspectors noticed corrosion in the piling supporting one of 38 piers that hold up a 2,100 foot, low bridge west of downtown Duluth. The Minnesota Department of Transportation decided late Monday to detour traffic around the bridge, said MnDOT district engineer Duane Hill.
"There's no signs of failure," Hill said. "But as a precautionary measure we just want to get traffic off of there to get the piling repaired."
The corrosion appears to be random, not systemic, he added. "You actually had to have your head down in the mud with a mirror looking to see the problem, something we apparently had never looked at before."
There are 1,300 piles under the bridge. MnDOT is still evaluating whether they need to inspect every one, which would be time consuming and expensive and not something they would normally do, he said.
About 5,100 motorists drive this section of I-35 every day. It's expected to stay closed through at least Nov. 25, MnDOT said in a statement.