I-35W Bridge Collapse - Week 31

Week 31 by Ivy Chang | September 28, 2010

Construction worker receives award

A construction worker from Progressive Contractors Inc., the resurfacing contractor working on the I-35W bridge when it collapsed, was nominated and will receive the first Above and Beyond Citizen Honors for unsung heroes from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Matthew Miller helped save at least eight people, including fellow construction workers and a family of four in a car. The Minneapolis police and company executives acknowledged that Miller went beyond most people to help those who were injured and continued to search for people who could be saved.

Bethel University in St. Paul, where Miller is a senior, nominated him for the award which will be presented on March 25 by retired Gen. Colin Powell. The award will be the first national recognition for any rescuer in the bridge collapse.

Structure rises from both sides of the Mississippi

At the reconstruction site, crews poured the top of the columns at Pier 2, and the last of the concrete for Pier 4 southbound and Pier 3 northbound. By the week of March 17, all columns will reach their full height of 70 feet.

During this past week, crews accomplished pouring another section of Abutment 5, formed and poured the first part of walls that will support the Second Street Bridge, and installed rebar for span 1 of the superstructure.

Crews have already poured the footings for the Second Street Bridge, installed all steel supports for the retaining wall along the southbound freeway entrance ramp at University Avenue, and poured seven pre-cast segments for the main bridge span. Twelve of the 120 needed segments have been completed.

Delivery schedule increases, more crews working more hours

Truck traffic delivering materials increased with more construction at the Second Street Bridge. In addition to materials delivered to Washington Avenue, trucks also enter streets near the Second Street Bridge and University Avenue.

Construction crews are working seven days a week in two shifts to continue building the new bridge. In consideration of neighborhood residents, all work requiring hammering and material crushing that creates much noise is be performed during the day.

The barge that will be used to install pre-cast segments for the main span is on its way to Minneapolis from Homa, Louisiana. It will pass through 29 locks up the Mississippi River at a speed of about four knots and is expected to arrive by the end of March.

The ringer crane that will be mounted on top of the barge will be delivered by truck from Seattle to Minneapolis. It will be assembled on site after its arrival to assist in installing the pre-cast segments.

Bills to help victims will enter full Legislature

The Senate Finance Committee of the Minnesota Legislature approved a $25-million fund to compensate victims of the I-35W bridge collapse and sent the bill to the Senate floor. This bill is $15 million under the fund approved by the House two weeks ago.

The chief author of the Senate bill wanted to learn how House members developed their figure because he thinks $25 million will be more than enough to compensate victims.

The Senate version also places a $400,000 cap on each claim while the House version has no limit on money available to individuals. However, under both bills, money available to individuals will be offset by any payment from insurance companies or from lawsuits against bridge contractors.

Other organizations questioned the extent of the state’s obligation to victims of the bridge collapse. The League of Minnesota Cities asked why victims of the bridge collapse should have potential to recover more than those who suffer loss or injury as a result of other government actions.