Blatnik Bridge Rehabilitation Project

I-535/Hwy 53 between Duluth and Superior

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Blatnik Bridge







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This project is completed and the new lighting system is operational.



Photo showing the Blatnik Bridge lit for the first time on October 25, 2013. The colors in sky are a dark-purple blu and the foliage is a rich, reddish brown. The water below the bridge reflects the colors and sparkles with flickers of light and color.


The Blatnik Bridge was lit for the first time October 25, 2013. The new lighting system casts a subtle wash of light over the entire center span.

Photo by David Gonzalez





crew working on an expansion joint on the Blatnik Bridge on a sunny, windy June day.


A crew works high above the St. Louis River basin on one of 50 expansion joints that are being replaced on the Blatnik Bridge.


Photo by Beth Petrowske, MnDOT D1 Public Affairs

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)







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Blatnik Bridge


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