Blatnik bridge to close for repairs

Blatnik Bridge
The Blatnik Bridge
Courtesy of MnDOT

Repair work begins tomorrow on the Blatnik bridge between Duluth and Superior. One westbound lane will remain open. But drivers headed east into Wisconsin will need to detour across the Bong bridge on U.S. Highway 2.

Last month, two lanes of traffic were closed to lessen the load on the bridge after inspectors determined that its steel plates were not strong enough.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says the work will be done six days a week, 10 hours a day to minimize the length of the closure. The work is expected to take two weeks if the weather cooperates.

Gusset plates
Gusset plates on the Blatnik Bridge.
Courtesy of MnDOT

MnDot's John Bray says weather conditions in the Twin Ports are unpredictable.

"On top of the Blatnik Bridge we get extraordinary high winds from time to time and that would affect the safety of the iron workers, that's a really tough job," Bray said.

Once the eastbound lanes reopen, the westbound lanes into Duluth will close. The Blatnik bridge and other steel truss spans in the state have come under increased scrutiny since the collapse of the similarly designed 35W bridge in Minneapolis.

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