Oberstar criticizing unreleased 35W bridge collapse findings


On Sunday, the Star Tribune published findings from a National Transportation Safety Board report on the 35W bridge collapse last year that isn't expected to be published for another several weeks.

According to their sources, the collapse occurred because of a miscalculation of gusset plates when the bridge was originally built. So much for pointing fingers at Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Minnesota's transportation God, Jim Oberstar is already criticizing the findings, which could mean some heavy debates in the upcoming hearings.

U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., who chairs the House Transportation Committee, has been at odds with the NTSB during the course of the bridge inquiry. And he remains skeptical of the agency's suggestion that gusset plate design was solely responsible for the collapse. "It stretches both credibility and past experience with bridge structural failure to find causation through a single factor," he said Sunday.

Oberstar also criticized the agency for what he said "appears to be a selective leak. ... I can't recall a previous leak of critical information in so serious an investigation as this one."

When a bridge collapse happens in the home state of the House transportation committee chairman, you can expect some heated arguments, particularly when conclusions show the bridge was doomed from the start. We'll keep you updated in the coming months with new developments.