Minnesota Bridge Over Mississippi River Closed Over Saftey Concerns

The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed a bridge over the Mississippi River in St. Cloud over safety concerns Thursday.

MnDOT issued a statement saying it closed the Highway 23-Division Street bridge "due to concerns discovered as part of a review of the bridge."

Jim Povich, an assistant district engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, told the St. Cloud Times that slight distortion was found in two gusset plates during a routine inspection.

"We decided to err on the side of safety," Povich said.

Traffic was being detoured. St. Cloud Public Works Assistant Director Jerry Kaeter told the Times that the bridge will be closed until more inspections can be done.

Acting Transportation Commissioner Bob McFarlin planned to hold a media availability at 5:45 p.m. at MNDOT headquarters.

The Highway 23-Division Street bridge is a steel truss bridge, similar in design to the Interstate 35W bridge that collapsed Aug. 1, killing 13 people.

The National Transportation Safety Board has said that too-thin steel gusset plates and construction project weights were factors in the collapse. In an update this week, the board said more than 191 tons of construction material had been piled over the weakest areas.