Sabo bridge shutdown cost more than a million dollars

Between the Met Council, the city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County, costs related to the closure of the Martin Olav Sabo pedestrian and bicycle bridge total more than $1.1 million.

The Sabo bridge in Minneapolis was closed on Feb. 19 after two of the bridge's supporting cables came loose due to cracks in their attachment points. Additional significant cracks were later found in two other support plates.

After the failure, Metro Transit light rail service was suspended between three stops between the Franklin Avenue and 38th Street stations on the Hiawatha light rail line for about a week. Metro Transit ran shuttle buses to transport passengers between the stations. Light rail service resumed on Feb. 24. Officials installed extra supports and reopened the bridge on June 1.

According to documents requested by MPR News, the four-day service disruption cost the Met Council $201,021. Of that, $104,866 was additional out-of-pocket expenses for Metro Transit - including additional hours of staff time to operate and manage the detoured transit service and fuel costs.

Minneapolis officials say the Sabo Bridge closure cost the city at least $643,000. That figure includes the costs of scaffolding, work on stabilizing and reopening the bridge and inspections, among other things. The city is negotiating with the firms involved with the bridge, including design firm URS Corp., over how to fund repair costs for the Sabo Bridge.

City officials say they'll also split the bill for engineering consulting firm Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, up to $300,000. Hennepin County will pick up the other half. Wiss, Janney, Elstner helped stabilize the bridge after the cables came loose and investigated the cause of the failure. A report released last month found that wind-induced cable vibrations caused the cables to fall from the Sabo bridge in February.

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