Tons of material parked on bridge, other projects may face delays.
The New York Times is reporting that trucks containing tens of thousands of pounds of pounds of crused stone were parked on the 35W Mississippi River Bridge on Wednesday, possibly contributing to the collapse of the bridge.
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A deputy commissioner of transportation is saying that the 35W repair may force the state to delay other projects, drawing an attack from the house speaker, who said that now is not the time to put off other repairs.
In an report from Minnesota Public Radio, Lisa Freese said, “Until we know the true cost of building the replacement structure, it will be difficult for us to determine the effect that it will have on our highway program. However, it is safe to say that there will be some impact and that we may need to defer some things in order to get the new bridge in place.”
That statement was echoed by House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, who was quoted as saying, “The bridge that collapsed is the busiest bridge in the state of Minnesota, so we have to keep that all in mind.”
But House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, disagreed. MPR quoted her as saying, “This is a wake-up call and a call to action for all Minnesota legislators to take action and be able to do something that will begin to address the backlog of projects that are out there.”
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Taxpayer’s League President and former Republican state representative Phil Krinkie has issued a statement on the 35W bridge collapse, saying, “We mourn the loss of life and the injuries. Now is a time for all Minnesotans to join together to comfort the victims and their families.”
Krinkie added, “Over the coming months there will be an investigation and a proper, informed debate about the causes and appropriate response to the bridge collapse. Until all the facts are known, it is not the time to assign blame or engage in political gamesmanship…It would be disappointing indeed to see any irresponsible people attempt to use this tragedy for political or partisan purposes.”