Photos: Inspecting the Lowry bridge -- from the wet side

Bridge inspection
Hennepin County inspectors used a large pontoon boat with a boom lift to examine the Lowry Ave. bridge.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News

The bi-annual inspection of the Lowry Avenue bridge in Minneapolis continued Friday with the help of a unique tool -- a 34-foot, 19,000-pound pontoon boat. The boat was trucked in from Pennsylvania to assist with inspection efforts.

Because of the construction of the bridge, a boom arm set on the road deck cannot reach all the way under the bridge and around the piers, but the pontoon offers a 67-foot reach with the boom lift, and easy maneuverability from the water. Pontoon pilot David Ebling travels the country with the boat, which is based at Harcon Corp., in Pennsylvania. He said the design and technology are patented and that there are only five of the boats like it in existence.

The inspection from the water wrapped up Friday. Engineers will spend another week or two inspecting the bridge from the road surface. The engineers said the bridge looked good and that the inspection had gone smoothly so far.

Gain a Better Understanding of Today

MPR News is not just a listener supported source of information, it's a resource where listeners are supported. We take you beyond the headlines to the world we share in Minnesota. Become a sustainer today to fuel MPR News all year long.