I-35W Bridge Collapse - Week 55

Week 55 by Ivy Chang | September 28, 2010

Homeland Security’s investigation results in resignation

The investigation into Sonia Pitt’s employment at the Department of Homeland Security resulted in the resignation of the official who missed a background check and hired the former Minnesota Department of Transportation employee.

Pitt was hired as a transportation security specialist in the Transportation Security Administration on May 25, 10 days after a Minnesota arbitrator upheld her firing on May 15. TSA said the official who hired Pitt would have undergone disciplinary action. Privacy laws prevented TSA from naming the worker.

Pitt was in the probationary stage of employment, which allowed TSA to quickly dismiss her after the Star Tribune newspaper published a story about Pitt’s new federal position. TSA said it will now add background checks with an applicant’s recent employers even if they are not listed among references.

Construction begins on plazas, median barriers and roads

Crews began building the observation plazas on both sides of the Mississippi River this week. The plazas surround Pier 2 on the south side and Pier 3 on the north side to provide a close-up view of the river and the piers supporting the bridge.

Walking paths will be built around the plazas to access the site when the bridge opens.

Median barriers and fences continue to be installed along the mainline highway on both sides of the bridge. The area between the north abutment and Second Street Southeast on the north side of the bridge continues to be paved with concrete to connect to the mainline highway.

Restoration work on West River Parkway continues to connect with other streets around the bridge.

Traffic signals, lighting, anti-icing system, and signs also continue to be installed and tested. Some landscaping around the completed areas of the bridge is taking shape and will continue as other areas are finished.

Crews continue to work night shifts seven days a week on the entire bridge. Bridge opening is scheduled between mid-September and mid-October.

Mn/DOT is at the Minnesota State Fair

Mn/DOT had a booth at the Minnesota State Fair which opened on August 23. The I-35W Bridge project and other Mn/DOT projects are on display in the Education Building. Various Mn/DOT employees were at the booth to explain the projects on display.