Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Blatnik Bridge repair project

Duluth

Project Completed

Update: The work on the Blatnik Bridge is nearly complete. All lanes are open.

  • In addition to the structural work done on the bridge, WisDOT and MnDOT maintenance crews repaired guardrail, installed new luminaires, upgraded signing and did deck sealing during the closures.

About this project

A recent inspection revealed that 23 gusset plates -- the steel plates that help connect elements of the bridge -- need to be repaired or replaced. One of the gusset plates has a crack that affects its structural integrity. The others have varying degrees of corrosion. The final decision whether to repair or replace these gusset plates will be made after additional data is analyzed.

In addition to the gusset plate work, the following work on the bridge will be done:

  • Repair or replace one diagonal floor beam
  • Replace bolts
  • Install new navigation lights

While repairs to the bridge are being made, roadway repairs to I-535 between I-35 and the Blatnik Bridge along with the Garfield Avenue ramps will also be made. This work includes concrete pavement repairs and storm sewer drainage repairs.

Future work

  • 2020 – Partial superstructure paint, steel repairs, suspender cable repairs.
  • 2020 and beyond – MnDOT is developing a plan to schedule appropriate maintenance, preservation, rehabilitation and, ultimately, replacement of this structure. The plan is scheduled for completion in fall 2016.

Based on the age and design of the Blatnik Bridge, regular maintenance, such as flushing the joints with water to remove salt, sealing cracks on the deck and periodic painting are necessary. The bridge will also need major preservation projects to prolong the service life and generally maintain the existing design features of the bridge. And the regular inspections will likely reveal issues that require more immediate attention. MnDOT and WisDOT schedule this work as best they can to reduce traffic disruptions. Work is only done when necessary, and activities are combined to the extent possible that allows for safe operations and reasonable timeliness. As with all projects, safety of the driving public, traffic impacts and cost are all part of project consideration and development.