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Sabo pedestrian bridge set to open after repairs

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Bridge cable failure closes light rail tracks
The Martin Olav Sabo Bridge was closed in February 2012 after one of its support cable broke loose. It will reopen on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012.
MPR Photo/Alex Kolyer

The Sabo bike and pedestrian bridge in Minneapolis will reopen late Monday.

City officials say contractors completed structural repairs on the bridge, where support cables broke loose last winter. 

An engineering firm determined the cause of the failure was wind-induced cable vibrations, which caused fatigue cracking in the diaphragm plates.

Heidi Hamilton from the Minneapolis Department of Public Works said the replaced plates are designed to withstand the kind of fatigue that caused the cracking.  

  "And what we have done is gone in and put a retrofit on those plates to basically strengthen them," Hamilton said. "We've taken a couple of plates of metal and sandwiched over the existing plates and reinforced the plates up there."

Hamilton said crews also installed equipment to monitor whether the repairs are working properly. The work on the bridge included installing and retrofitting diaphragm plates on the bridge's pylon, including the plate that fractured causing a pair of suspension cables to break loose.

Hamilton said the Sabo bridge is a vital link in Minneapolis' bike and pedestrian network. 

  "It carries bicyclists and pedestrians over a very busy state trunk highway, and so it is a really important feature for safe bicycle commuting in the city," Hamilton said. "I'm confident that our bicyclists will be very happy that this bridge is back open and back into service."

She said talks between the city and San Francisco-based URS Corp, which designed the bridge, over whether the company will reimburse the city for the repairs are ongoing. Hennepin County officials say the repairs have so far cost $940,000.