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NTSB releases final report on 35W bridge collapse

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A federal safety board has released the final report into the cause of last year's deadly collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis.

      The National Transportation Safety Board's report mirrors what the board said at the end of a two-day public hearing last month: that a design error was the probable cause. Thirteen people were killed and 145 injured in the Aug. 1, 2007 collapse.

      The report concludes that the bridge collapsed because of the failure of undersized gusset plates, which help connect steel beams. The report says the plates failed under stress from construction materials, rush-hour traffic and modifications made to the bridge over the years.

      The report says that current federal and state reviews procedures aren't adequate to detect design errors in bridges.

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      On the Net:       NTSB: http://www.ntsb.gov/

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