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News Release
June 12 , 2008

Workzone at night

Highway 43 bridge in Winona to open to car traffic June 14

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Highway 43 (Winona)/Wisconsin Highway 54 bridge over the Mississippi River will re-open to automobiles, pickups, vans, SUVs and emergency vehicles no later than 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 14, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said today.

Trucks, pedestrians and bicyclists are still restricted from crossing the bridge.

The bridge was closed June 3 because of rust and corrosion found in gusset plates at several locations of the bridge.

“We felt it was necessary to open the Highway 43 bridge to some level of service as soon as possible to reduce some of the inconvenience to Minnesota and Wisconsin commuters,” said Tom Sorel, transportation commissioner. “Mn/DOT is confident that the bridge is safe to open to car traffic until repairs can be made to the gusset plates.”

Repair work will begin by mid summer with anticipated completion by late summer/early fall.

Bridge repair work will be done in this order:

  1. Thirty-two gusset plates have been identified as needing repair work. Mn/DOT will repair the most critical gusset plates first in order to allow truck traffic back onto the bridge as soon as possible.

  2. Sidewalks will be replaced along with cleaning and painting of bridge joints. After all repair work is completed, the bridge is expected to be opened to all traffic including pedestrians and bicyclists.

On June 19 and 20, a single-lane closure will be necessary to complete the final repair analysis of the bridge. Motorists may encounter brief closures of the bridge until repair work begins to allow fire trucks to cross. Otherwise, the bridge will remain open to automobiles, pickups, vans, SUVs and emergency vehicles until repair work begins.

During bridge repair work, traffic will be reduced to one lane during working hours and east and westbound traffic will be alternated with the use of flaggers. Occasional full bridge closures may be needed during repair work to allow movement of equipment on and off the bridge.

Through June 20, a 20 passenger ferry will be available for pedestrians and bicyclists needing to cross the river. Mn/DOT and the city of Winona are looking into transit options to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists after that time.

The designated truck detour for the Highway 43 bridge is Highway 43 to Minnesota Highway 14/Highway 61 to Interstate 90 over the Mississippi River Bridge near Dresbach, to Wisconsin Highway 53, back to Wisconsin Highway 54. Detour length is 65 miles.

“I want to again say how much we appreciate the patience and understanding of commuters and travelers who have been inconvenienced by the closure of the Highway 43 bridge,” Sorel said.

For more information go to Mn/DOT's Web site at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/projects/43-winona/

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