Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Oct. 3, 2016

Orange barrels on a highway

Steel from I-90 Dresbach Bridge donated to Purdue University engineering lab

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Ames Construction has donated portions of steel from the old Dresbach Bridge to an engineering research laboratory at Purdue University, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Ames, the contractor for the Dresbach Bridge project, in a cooperative effort between the Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation, donated the steel and coordinated the loading and shipping of the steel to the S-BRITE Center, Bowen Lab at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Main girders from the bridge, which are 21-feet-10-inches tall and another assembly 10-feet long and approximately 10-feet wide were given to the group for its research efforts. The pieces were erected recently at the S-BRITE Center, which has been collecting bridge sections coming out of service for its Bridge Component Gallery at the S-BRITE Center to support academic and professional training. (See S-BRITE photo attached to news release)

Girder sections like the Dresbach Bridge are rare because of their size, but in this case, these girders have also had past retrofits implemented to modify their connections to help prevent a phenomenon called "constraint-induced fracture." 

“This is a powerful teaching tool to help professional engineers, bridge inspectors, and engineering students understand these important concepts,” said Robert Connor, director of the S-BRITE Center. “When we can educate students and professionals on these types of details and good practices for repair and retrofit, then we help the steel bridge community better maintain the aging infrastructure.”

The use of the steel is one of many ways materials are recycled from construction sites, according to MnDOT. Much of the concrete, blacktop and steel finds its way to new uses through recycling or future construction work. MnDOT has included a graphic highlighting the re-use of material at the Dresbach Bridge website: www.mndot.gov/dresbachbridge.

The Dresbach Bridge project includes constructing a new I-90 crossing over the Mississippi River and reconstructing the Highway 61/14 and the I-90 interchange.

The $187.5 million project began in late 2012 and will be completed this fall.
MnDOT urges motorists to always be attentive, drive with caution, slow down in work zones and never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.

To learn more about the S-BRITE Center, go to its website: https://engineering.purdue.edu/CAI/SBRITE

Visit mndot.gov/dresbachbridge or facebook.com/DresbachBridge for more information about the Dresbach Bridge. For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store.

Photo courtesy of S-BRITE Center