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Balky Sabo bridge consultant same firm that consulted on I-35W bridge before it collapsed

A cable support can be seen dangling from the Sabo bridge over the LRT tracks.
A cable support can be seen dangling from the Sabo bridge over the LRT tracks.

Perhaps San Francisco-based URS Corp. should just cease operations in the Twin Cities, because they've certainly had a bad run here during the past half-decade.

Late last night, a cable support above the Martin Olav Sabo bike and pedestrian bridge gave way and ended up slumping precariously over the Hiawatha LRT tracks, forcing the suspension of LRT service between 38th Street and Franklin Avenue until tomorrow morning at the earliest. Auto traffic along Hiawatha Avenue (Highway 55) is also being rerouted. 

URS consulted with Hennepin County when the Sabo bridge was designed, and also consulted on the I-35W bridge before it collapsed in 2007. In 2010, the company agreed to pay $52.4 million to settle the last major piece of litigation brought by victims of the collapse.

Fortunately, this bridge-fail isn't nearly as bad. Hiawatha Avenue and LRT service should be fully restored by mid-day tomorrow, though Mike Kennedy, transportation director for Minneapolis, told the Star Tribune "it's going to be some time" before the Sabo bridge reopens.

The Sabo bridge was last inspected in September. At that time, there didn't appear to be any problems with it, "so we are just as surprised as anybody" by the cable failure, Kennedy said.

Around 2 p.m. today, Metro Transit published the following statement on its website:

Metro Transit plans to extend replacement bus service through the rest of today (Monday, Feb. 20) and into the morning rush hour on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Replacement buses will operate between 38th Street and Franklin Avenue stations and will serve Lake Street Station. Metro Transit staff will be available at those stations to direct customers to replacement buses.

Please, local government entities, look elsewhere for engineering services next time around. Fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice, shame on me... let's hope Twin Citians don't end up getting fooled a third time by URS.


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