As the first anniversary of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse approaches, Minnesota’s democratic legislators are proposing changes to state law that would improve bridge safety in that state.
The proposal, which came at a news conference just two days after concrete fell from an I-35E overpass in St. Paul, is considered the first step toward introducing the proposed bill in the next legislative session.
Under the proposal:
- All bridges would be inspected once a year. Currently a loophole in law can allow the inspections to exceed 12 months.
- Department engineers could be paid more than allowed under the state salary cap. This could help in the recruiting and retention of engineers. It’s predicted that this could save the state money by not having to contract out hiring to private engineers at higher salaries.
- Formally include safety in the department’s statutory mission.
- Minnesota democratic legislators reportedly plan to consult with MnDot managers to refine their proposal before the beginning of the legislative session in January.