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DeSoto Bridge Reconstruction Moves Forward

From time to time on this blog, in addition to big national issues that impact everyone, I'll be posting about topics that are more specific to my Minnesota district. I hope readers outside MN still read, but understand if you don't become engaged on the topic. This is one of those posts.

To give you some background, Minnesota's DeSoto Bridge in St. Cloud was abruptly closed on March 20 this year because inspectors found bending in some of the gusset plates that hold the bridge together. This has been a pretty hot subject in MN since the I-35W Mississippi River bridge in Minneapolis collapsed during rush hour back in  August of 2007 from a similar problem.

I commend the Minnesota Department of Transportation which took quick action on this and decided that the best course of action would be to demolish the DeSoto Bridge and construct a new one.  I also commend Minnesota’s Governor Tim Pawlenty who decided to forego federal earmarks for this project because the regulatory red tape and Washington mandates would only delay implementation of the project.

There is good news now that Xcel Energy has started work on installing a new 16-inch gas line beneath the Mississippi River in preparation of the new construction. The gas line that currently runs underneath the DeSoto Bridge must be relocated and in service before the bridge can be demolished.  This is an important step in the process for Minnesotans living around and affected by the bridge's construction.

For more info, check out the St. Cloud Times article: Xcel Energy plans for project

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