Judge throws out I-35W replacement bridge lawsuit

The new 35W bridge
The new 35W bridge across the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis opened to traffic Sept. 18.
Photo courtesy of MnDOT

(AP) - A judge has thrown out a lawsuit challenging how Minnesota transportation officials awarded the contract for the recently opened Interstate 35W replacement bridge in Minneapolis.

Ramsey County District Judge Edward Cleary ruled there was "substantial evidence" supporting the Minnesota Department of Transportation's decision to award the contract to Flatiron Construction Corp.

Two construction executives had argued MnDOT used a flawed selection process.

MnDOT project manager Jon Chiglo said the ruling validated the process that was used to pick Flatiron.

Last year, the judge rejected the executives' attempt to stop construction of the new bridge. In his latest ruling, Cleary denied the executives' argument that Flatiron should give up "profits" from the bridge.

Meanwhile, Chiglo said Flatiron and its partner, Manson Construction Co., have been paid a $25 million bonus for finishing the bridge early and on budget.

The bonus included $18 million for finishing the bridge more than 90 days ahead of a Dec. 24 deadline, and another $7 million because the contractor agreed not to make claims for unforeseen costs.

The new bridge opened in September. It replaces the one that collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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