House bill paves way for handout of I-35W bridge steel


The Department of Transportation would be directed to distribute the surplus steel remains of the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge to interested survivors, research and historic preservation groups, under a bill the House passed 129-0 on Monday.

The Minnesota Historical Society, bridge collapse survivors, federal and state transportation agencies, higher education institutions with engineering programs and others directly impacted by the collapse would be in line for pieces of remnant steel left over from the bridge that fell into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis during rush hour on Aug. 1, 2007, killing 13 and injuring 145.

HF1451, sponsored by Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley), would authorize the department to disburse, free of charge, pieces of the bridge wreckage within six months of enactment and to then dispose of the remaining steel.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) is the sponsor.

The bill specifies that the first $22,000 in proceeds from the disposal of the remaining steel after the six-month giveaway be deposited into the trunk highway fund; remaining proceeds would go to the state’s General Fund.

The General Fund paid out settlements to collapse victims who agreed not to sue the state as part of the I-35W Survivor Compensation Fund.

“This would be more of a symbolic contribution back to the General Fund,” Winkler said.