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I-35W Bridge Collapse - Week 37

New MnDOT leader takes control. As the controversies surrounding the I-35W Bridge continue, Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty named a new leader at the Minnesota ...

April 25, 2008

New MnDOT leader takes control

As the controversies surrounding the I-35W Bridge continue, Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty named a new leader at the Minnesota Department of Transportation on April 22. Tom Sorel is the division administrator in Minnesota for the Federal Highway Administration who coordinated the federal transportation response to the bridge collapse and has worked for FHWA since 1978.

In his acceptance speech, Sorel said his top mission is to restore public confidence in MnDOT "and in the transportation system as a whole."

Sorel, a civil engineer, was greeted with praise from legislators and Jim Oberstar, D-MN, chair of the U.S. House Transportation Committee. A low-key administrator, Sorel has a B.S. in civil engineering, an MBA, and certificates in conflict management and project management. He assumed control of the department on April 28.

Barges, cranes prepare to haul main span segments

The second barge that will support the ringer crane on the Mississippi River has arrived. Both barges were moved to and anchored at Pier 3 in preparation for the main span assembly.

Crews have been hauling the pre-cast segments from the casting yard to Bohemian Flats, where they’re stored, waiting for Bohemian Blue, the blue crane, to load them onto the two barges for the trip to Pier 3 where they will be lifted by Big Ben, a red crane, to their positions on the main span. Six segments will be transported to Bohemian Flats every day until June 1.

Over 70 pre-cast segments for the main span have

Aerial photo of the I-35W approach spans under construction on the south side (bottom) and the north side (top) of the Mississippi River. The barges carrying the ring mount crane (red) have arrived at Pier 3.

been poured and cured. Crews are pouring concrete for the approach span on the south side of the river, placing rebar, and preparing the forms to continue concrete pouring during the next few weeks.

Building continues for the Second Street Bridge

On the north side of the river another crew is building the abutment for the Second Street bridges, including the falsework, for the entrance ramps.

Streets around the bridge are closed periodically during each day for trucks to haul materials and pre-cast segments. Crews work from 7 a.m. to 4 a.m. the following morning relocating utilities and widening the highway south of the river, at the concrete plant, and in the casting yard.

The University of Minnesota’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers hosted MnDOT and Flatiron-Manson for an open house on campus for those who want updates on the bridge reconstruction.


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