Debris from I-35W bridge collapse to be moved from park

Debris from the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in 2007 will soon be moved to a storage site in Afton, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials said.

Mangled steel from the bridge had been placed on parkland along the Mississippi River as the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the collapse. The debris was also considered evidence in several lawsuits stemming from the collapse, so MnDOT was instructed not to remove it.

But Minneapolis residents and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board complained last year that the seven-acre park had been closed too long. The board sued, saying it was losing parking revenue because the park was closed.

MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said Friday that the department has come to an agreement with the park board and with victims of the bridge collapse who have a lawsuit pending against a contractor hired to inspect the bridge.

Moving the steel is expected to start in a couple weeks and will take some time, Gutknecht said.

"It has to be cut so it will fit on flatbed trucks," he said.

But he said MnDOT is happy to move it.

"We are really glad to be able to get that park open again. We know it's been a trial for the city and residents of the city," he said.

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