Framing between pillars on Arden Hills bridge
ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - If a person drives under a concrete bridge everyday and it appears to be supported by wood, it gets their attention.
That's what one KARE 11 viewer saw as he drove under the bridge that carries Ramsey County Road E2 over I-35W in Arden Hills. It prompted him to wonder if the state's spending priorities were out of whack.
"I'm talking about a bridge that is being held up by wooden bracing," Ron W. wrote to KARE this week. "Wouldn't you think fixing this would be a higher priority before stadiums?"
There is wood bracing one of the support piers on that bridge, known officially as Bridge Number 9570 in the state highway system. MnDOT engineers say the wood is not there to support the structure in any way.
"The lumber you see there was built to contain any chunks of concrete that would peel away from the structure, to keep them out of traffic," Duane Green, MnDOT maintenance engineer told KARE.
"The bridge is structurally sound, but there has been some delamination on the tops, or the caps of the piers. We want to make sure traffic under the bridge is protected from any debris."
Delamination is the process by which superficial concrete breaks apart from the steel reinforcement bars. The cracks and exposed rebar may be unsettling at first glance, but it doesn't threaten the structural integrity of the Ramsey County E-2 bridge over the interstate, Green said.
That bridge is already slated to be replaced in the summer of 2016 as part of MnDOT's North Central Project, a group of interchanges being revamped in the I-694 corridor.
"With a bridge like this we're not going to go out and rebuild it part way," Kent Barnard, the project spokesperson, told KARE.
"When we get to it, it's going to be fully rebuilt. You're going to have a brand new structure," he said.
Work is already underway just to the north, where Ramsey County 10 and U.S. Highway 10 cross I-35W. A full animation detailing the project is posted on YouTube.
The viewer's question also assumed that the Vikings Stadium will compete with roads and bridges for the state funding, but that is not the case in Minnesota.
The state's share of the stadium project will be financed through gambling, through new electronic pull-tabs and electronic bingo games yet.
State roads and bridges, on the other hand, are financed largely through user fees such as fuel taxes, the motor vehicle sales taxes and vehicle registration fees.
"Road work does not compete with other infrastructure for funding," Kevin Gutknecht of MnDOT explained.
"The needed road work has plenty of competition within itself for the funding that exists."
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