Oberstar responds to NTSB leaked report

The following report was issued by Congressman Jim Oberstar's office in response to an article that appeared in the Star Tribune on Sunday, Oct. 26.


This news report points to what could be a serious lapse in NTSB procedure - it appears to be a selective leak. I can't recall a previous leak of critical information in so serious an investigation as this one, where lives were lost and important lessons can be learned for the future of maintenance of structurally deficient bridges

The I-35W bridge stood for more than four decades with those undersigned gusset plates. On August 1, 2007 it was loaded with hundreds of tons of extra weight from construction materials and equipment and bumper-to-bumper traffic. It was a hot day and the setting concrete from the construction was generating more heat. Key structural elements were significantly corroded and rollers and expansion mechanisms were not operational. It stretches both credibility and past experience with bridge structural failure to find causation through a single factor. Experience teaches seasoned investigators that multiple factors contribute to failure in circumstances such as this. Multiple factors contribute in combination. Yet the board chairman persists in refusing to subject the NTSB's investigation to an open hearing. And I will pursue the matter further with the board.

Jim Oberstar

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