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MnDOT to decide on Milan Bridge solution in spring

WILLMAR -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation will make a decision this spring on whether to replace rather than rehabilitate the Milan Bridge on state Highway 40 spanning Lac qui Parle Lake.The District 8 office in Willmar reported Thurs...

WILLMAR - The Minnesota Department of Transportation will make a decision this spring on whether to replace rather than rehabilitate the Milan Bridge on state Highway 40 spanning Lac qui Parle Lake.
The District 8 office in Willmar reported Thursday that it is taking seriously a recent recommendation by a citizens’ task force that the bridge be replaced rather than rehabilitated.
The District 8 office had been prepared to award a bid in May for a project to rehabilitate the 1938 bridge at an estimated cost of $2.6 million to $3 million.
MnDOT “pressed pause’’ on the project after hearing objections to the plans last April from residents in the Milan area.
MnDOT will need to determine if state and federal law will allow a change in plans to replace the bridge, and if funds can be obtained for a more costly replacement project. MnDOT originally proposed rehabilitating the bridge to conform to federal law.
The Milan Bridge is part of a historic district that features Works Progress Administration water control projects.
Federal law requires the state to rehabilitate rather than replace
historic structures, unless there is “no feasible and prudent alternative.’’
If the task force had supported plans to rehabilitate the bridge, it would have been placed for a bid letting in 2016.
Now the timetable is not clear for the project.
If MnDOT is able to obtain authority to replace the bridge, it is not known when funds might be available for what would be a much costlier project.
An earlier estimate had pegged the cost of a replacement bridge in the range of $5 million to $6 million.

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Task force urges replacing Milan Bridge

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