I-35W Bridge Collapse - Week 38

Week 38 by Ivy Chang | September 28, 2010

Flatiron-Manson maintains a good safety record

Flatiron-Manson Joint Venture, general contractors on the I-35W Bridge reconstruction, reported that it has no lost-time injuries and only nine minor reportable incidents after seven months and almost 300,000 work hours. Workers have placed "Safety First" stickers on their hard hats and signs around the work site.

On Monday, April 28, work stopped for a short time in honor of Workers Memorial Day, a commemoration that takes place every year on April 28 to remember workers who have lost their lives while on the job.

This week crews began hauling the pre-cast main span segments to Bohemian Flats from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, which will continue for the next five weeks. Roads are closed periodically during transport from the casting yard to West River Road.

Crews pour more segments, prepare crane work

The red ringer crane, Big Ben, has been assembled and is being tested, including dropping the anchor to hold the crane in place in preparation for lifting main span segments beginning in mid-May.

Crews continue to pour pre-cast segments and plan to construct up to 15 segments this week. In addition, concrete pouring continues on the approach spans south of the river while construction is ongoing for the north approach spans and the abutment for the Second Street bridges. For the next week, excavation work on the I-35W road bed north of the river will take place 24 hours a day.

Side streets and sidewalks are closed periodically for trucks hauling materials, utility relocation, and widening the I-35W freeway. The area will experience much noise from the excavation and hammering that accompanies falsework construction on the north side of the river.

Tom Sorel begins duties with low-key approach

Tom Sorel, new MnDOT commissioner, began his duties this week. He has won praise for his engineering expertise, mediating disputes, building support, and understanding the importance of public appearance even as he avoids the media.

He has not issued his agenda for the Department of Transportation, but colleagues and construction-industry representatives revealed a man who is very familiar with federal policies and regulations. He advised MnDOT on funding, project estimating, interpreting federal guidelines, and coordinating the federal response to the I-35W bridge collapse.

Sorel received high marks for walking a fine line over the political battle between Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Minnesota’s legislature on the state gas tax that the governor vetoed.

Some transportation industry officials said Sorel can’t avoid the spotlight as he deals with the Central Corridor light rail line between Minneapolis and St. Paul and the various investigations on the I-35W Bridge.