Minnesota will double the compensation that victims of the I-35W bridge collapse can claim for lost wages. Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the increase is based on money left over after the first claims were processed.
The $10,000 initial amount is now $20,000; however, four people received the previous maximum of $10,000 and nine people have received lesser amounts. So far, 13 people have claimed more than $70,000.
At Left: Crews poured concrete into the form for the first segment of the new bridge. Photo by Tim Davis, Consolidated Photo.
Victims’ fund and Commissioner’s fate
Legislators are developing a separate fund to compensate bridge victims and will discuss the fund when their session begins.
In addition to transportation and road funding, legislators will consider the fate of MnDOT Commissioner Carol Molnau, who never has been confirmed as commissioner. With GOP primary results favorable to John McCain, rumors are circulating about a vice president position for Tim Pawlenty who serves as McCain’s campaign manager.
Footings and piers take shape
On Thursday, January 31, construction crews poured concrete into the form for the first of 120 segments that will be connected to create the 504-foot main span of the new I-35W bridge. Workers inside the heated shed guided the hose from a concrete pumper into the form that will create segments 50 feet wide, 16 feet long and 25 feet deep.
New segments will be cast in place inside the shed every few days until the end of March. Trucks providing supplies to the shed will enter the construction area from Washington Avenue but the ramp remains closed to other motorists.
Footings for Pier 2 northbound, Pier 3 southbound, and Pier 4 northbound have been poured. The remaining footings and Abutment 5 will be poured during the weeks of February 11 and 18.
Column work continues
Column work also began with Abutment 1 pouring and curing. Crews pour columns in three stages to bring them to full height. Pier 2 will be poured on February 8 and 9 with the third stage scheduled for next week. On the north side of the river, columns for Pier 3 southbound are almost complete. Pier 4 columns are being poured and can be seen above ground.
Drilling for foundations at Abutment 5, north of the river, will be complete by February 9. Then the drills will move a short distance to begin work on foundations for the Second Street Bridge, which will serve businesses and residents in the near northeast Minneapolis area.
About 150 workers are at the site and, as the weather warms in the next few months, that number will reach 600 to keep on schedule.
Alternatives to viewing bridge’s progress
Anyone interested in seeing the progress of the bridge has several alternatives:
1. Log on to www.mndot.gov to read the latest information or click on the webcam link to see the construction site at that time.
2. If you live in the metro area, visit the kiosks at Mill City Museum or the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport’s main terminal, where a variety of information, photos and animations can be viewed.
3. Attend a Sidewalk Superintendent talk on Saturdays at 11 a.m. in front of Grandma’s Saloon.
4. Take a self-guided tour on the Tenth Avenue Bridge.
5. Call the hotline, (612) 236-6901, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. CST to ask questions.
6. Request a presentation from the hotline, and members of MnDOT and Flatiron-Manson will attend your organization’s meeting.