Drayton bridge over Red River to reopen today after repair
ST. PAUL -- The only bridge to have been closed in Minnesota's special inspection program reopens at 7 a.m. today. North Dakota and Minnesota transportation officials Tuesday night closed the bridge near Drayton, N.D., 30 miles south of Canada, w...
ST. PAUL -- The only bridge to have been closed in Minnesota's special inspection program reopens at 7 a.m. today.
North Dakota and Minnesota transportation officials Tuesday night closed the bridge near Drayton, N.D., 30 miles south of Canada, when inspectors found that a crack previously contained in a weld had expanded into a steel support.
Known as the Robbin Bridge, it spans the Red River to connect Drayton, N.D., and Robbin, Minn.
Inspectors checked the bridge Tuesday as part of a program ordered by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty in the wake of an Aug. 1 Minneapolis bridge collapse.
A May inspection of the Robbin Bridge showed no problems other than a small crack in a weld joining an I-beam and a steel plate. However, when inspectors on Tuesday saw that crack had moved into the steel plate, they closed the bridge. The crack was less than two inches long, bridge officials said.
Officials on Wednesday said they expected the bridge to be closed for a week. They ordered a repair of adding an additional support member and drilling a hole at the end of the crack, with the hope that would stop it from growing.
The 1,058-foot bridge was built in 1954. It carries 1,400 vehicles a day. The Robbin Bridge is on Minnesota 11 and North Dakota 66. A new bridge is scheduled to be open in 2010.
"We are really happy with the cooperation and partnership we had with the state of Minnesota during the entire process," North Dakota Transportation Director Francis Ziegler said. "By working together with our partners, the duration of the bridge closure was minimized."
The two states share responsibility for bridges crossing the Red River.
Minnesota transportation officials, who were responsible for fixing the bridge, said it never was in danger of collapsing. State Bridge Engineer Dan Dorgan said it could move a little, but four other support beams were backing up the cracked one.
The crack was in a support holding up the approach span on the North Dakota side.
The bridge was to be monitored after the May inspection, but officials had not looked at the crack again until Tuesday.