Despite looks, Dinkytown railroad bridge is 'ok'

6:57 PM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - The old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," is a good rule to live by if you're one of thousands of pedestrians that walk under the 15th Avenue railroad bridge every day.

"I go under it twice each week," says Cassie Wagner of Minneapolis. "It's rusty and looks moldy and old. It's scary sometimes."

The bridge, built in 1921, is owned by BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad. It sees cars, bikers and walkers pass underneath every day.

"You think about it coming down on you," admits James Bengston, a student at the U of M. "That's a lot of weight to be going over it all of the time and with just how rusted out it is, it looks kind of scary."

Railroad officials with BNSF assure the public that the bridge is "rigorously inspected" three times each year. They deem it "structurally sound."

The City of Minneapolis also checks the bridge annually.

"We inspect it because it crosses over a public right of way," says Heidi Hamilton, Deputy Director of Public Works in Minneapolis. "At this time there is no safety concern."

Hamilton says the city and the railroad companies "have a good working relationship" and if a problem were to arise the two sides would "meet on site and resolve the issue."

City crews inspected the bridge last December and gave it the all clear, but did document that the structure had moderate to serious rust.

Inspection reports done by the railroad companies are not made public.

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