Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Oct. 18, 2013

Orange barrels on a highway

Northbound lane to reopen on I-535/Blatnik Bridge in Duluth

Two-year-long rehabilitation project nearly completed

DULUTH, Minn. — The northbound/duluthbound right lane on the Blatnik Bridge, which has been closed all summer, will reopen at approximately 6 p.m. today, Friday, October 18.

When work continues next week, motorists may encounter a temporary lane closure as workers do minor finishing work. The entire project will be completed next week.

The project included high-end maintenance work that will extend the life of the bridge. The following work was completed:

  • The main span truss was sandblasted and repainted in the “splash zone”, which is the area extending from the lowest members to 10-feet above the driving surface. This area is subjected to vehicle spray and road salt and needed to be repainted to protect the steel from corrosion.
  • The gusset plates on the bridge's main span were repaired and strengthened to improve the load-carrying capacity of the bridge.
  • The concrete traffic rail on the main span was replaced with a thinner, lighter-weight rail. This reduced the overall weight on the bridge, which increases the load-carrying capacity and provides better access to the steel members behind the rail. This will simplify future maintenance work and allows for more thorough bridge inspections.
  • The bridge deck expansion joints were replaced. The existing joints were leaking and caused water and salt damage to the structural steel members.
  • The deteriorating outline-lighting system was removed and replaced with a new, energy-efficient, LED system that will illuminate the center span with a wash of light.

The new LED lighting system will be lit for the first time the evening of Friday, October 25.

Project website: www.dot.state.mn.us/d1/projects/blatnikbridge/

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Pay Attention Slow Down in Workzones