Officials say buildings on edge of mudslide sound

MINNEAPOLIS - Officials say the Minneapolis hospital buildings at the edge of a Mississippi River bluff mudslide are structurally sound.

University of Minnesota Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Amundson says engineers have inspected the two hospital buildings and determined they are not structurally compromised.

Still, engineers continue to dig into the bedrock below the buildings to determine its depth and whether the buildings will remain safe if further erosion occurs.

"The buildings closest to the banks are on bedrock. And, as we speak, they're testing how deep that is. But they are assuring us that we can be here and care for patients safely," said Carolyn Wilson, Chief Operating Officer of Fairview Health Services.

Minneapolis Building Official Patrick Higgins says it appears -- based on the building plans and visual assessment -- that engineers followed safety standards when first constructing the buildings.

"Whenever you build into a slope, you have to build either a certain distance away or you have to provide engineering to ensure that the building will maintain structural [integrity] on solid and firm soil," Higgins said, adding, "The process that they followed is working."

Minneapolis Assistant Fire Chief Charles Brynteson says the buildings are set on bedrock and are safe. No one was hurt Thursday night when a 100-yard swath of bluff soil, including trees and brush, slid to a parkway below, leaving 6 to 8 feet of mud on the road.

Brynteson says two motorists on the parkway accelerated to safety as mud and debris were falling. Brynteson says they very easily could have been trapped.


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