- I-535/Hwy 53 between Duluth and Superior
- May to Oct. 2012 and April 15 to Oct. 2013
The southbound/Superior-bound, right lane on the Interstate 535/Blatnik Bridge, is closed to traffic for several weeks. Motorists may also encounter temporary, northbound/Duluth-bound single-lane closures between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Blatnik Bridge rehabilitation project
A major, two-year rehabilitation project began on the Blatnik Bridge in May 2012. This project includes high-end maintenance work that will extend the life of the bridge. The following work is planned:
• Repair and strengthen gusset plates on the bridge's main span to improve the load-carrying capacity of the bridge.
• Sandblast and paint the main span from about 10 feet above the deck and below. This area, referred to as "the splash zone", is subjected to vehicle spray and road salt and needs to be repainted to protect the steel from corrosion. The approach spans will receive spot painting in defined areas that have higher exposure to road salt.
• Replace the concrete traffic rail on the main span with a thinner, lighter weight rail. This will reduce the overall weight on the bridge which will increase the load carrying capacity and provide better access to the steel members behind the rail. This will simplify future maintenance work and allow for more thorough bridge inspections.
• Replace the bridge deck expansion joints. The existing joints are leaking, causing water and salt damage to the structural steel members.
• Remove outline lighting. The current lighting system is in a state of disrepair and needs to be removed so that all areas of the bridge can be painted.(Please see the "Lighting" tab for information about lighting replacement)
2013 traffic impacts
Both directions of traffic will be open, but periodic lane closures in each direction will be needed to complete the remaining bridge painting. Lanes will only close during non-peak times; approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
2013 alternate river crossing
The Bong Bridge will remain open and may be used as an alternate river crossing.
About the bridge