Rusty bolts and bridges


It doesn’t matter how many times you report a problem if you don’t fix it. That’s the basic message from Senator Jim Carlson of the Minnesota Legislature. Carlson, who is also an engineer, is Vice-Chair of the Minnesota Senate Transportation Committee that’s investigating the 35W bridge collapse. What he’s found is that lack of basic bridge maintenance, such as painting, has led to bridges that are rusting away.

He’s also found that Minnesota’s Department of Transportation is using cheap bolts to do repairs making the bridges weaker. On top of that, the cheaper bolts don’t really save any money because they cost more to install.

Senator Carlson says MN DOT’s philosophy of letting basic bridge repairs go by the wayside “comes from the top,” which is why he advocates replacing MN DOT head Carol Molnau with “a professional.” Molnau, who is also Minnesota’s Lt. Governor, is not an engineer.

Related Coverage: Senator Carlson talked with Access To Democracy’s Alan Miller. You can see the entire show at (video from ‘Access To Democracy’ used by permission)
Minneapolis Star Tribune MnDot money vs. safety: ‘This bridge can’t wait’
St. Paul Pioneer Press – Minnesota Minnesota’s eyes are on I-35W bridge, but look again