MnDOT inspectors determine Winona Bridge pier OK after barge collision
WINONA, Minn. — Minnesota Department of Transportation bridge inspectors have determined that the new Winona Bridge remains structurally sound and safe after a Mississippi River barge struck a bridge pier shortly after noon on Tuesday.
The barge was upstream from the bridge and struck Pier No. 11. No injuries were reported. Traffic was not shut down, but authorities were notified of the collision and MnDOT bridge inspectors were on the scene soon after the report.
MnDOT inspectors spent an hour Tuesday afternoon on board a boat in the Mississippi River in Winona to get close enough to visually inspect the damage and gather information on what repairs are needed and what comes next.
Inspectors called the damage superficial and said the bridge performed as it was designed. Designers reviewed bridge traffic, barge speeds and loads in developing plans for the new bridge to safely sustain collisions. The new bridge was opened to traffic on Aug. 27, 2016. The new bridge was designed upstream aligned to serve as a protection to the older, historic bridge down river. The new bridge’s concrete thickness, reinforcement and deeper pilings into the river bed were all aimed at safely sustaining a collision.
The new Winona Bridge, Bridge No. 85851, carries Hwy 43 traffic in both directions across the bridge while the historic Winona Bridge, Bridge No. 5900, is closed and being rehabilitated. The older bridge is expected to open to traffic in the fall of 2019. Contracts for the new bridge and the rehabilitation work total $145.8 million.
Follow construction progress on the project website at www.mndot.gov/winonabridge,