I-535 Blatnik Bridge Traffic Control Removed Between Duluth + Superior
Some good news for Northland motorists arrived late last week from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
MnDOT announced traffic on the I-535 Blatnik Bridge had been restored to two lanes in each direction as the maintenance project that was in progress was substantially completed on Saturday, September 10.
The goal of the project was to help extend the life of the bridge until the Blatnik Bridge is replaced in 2028. The work the Minnesota Department of Transportation completed included:
- Drainage system improvements
- Deck repairs and full deck seal
- Painting of suspender ropes and truss sections
- Concrete barrier repairs
- Clean and sealing of deck joints
- Concrete surface repairs
- Surface finish of piers
MnDOT notes that jointly owned and managed by MnDOT and WisDOT, the Blatnik Bridge is Minnesota’s second longest bridge and serves an average of 33,021 cars traveling between the two cities each day.
It serves as important freight and commercial connection between the Twin Ports. MnDOT will lead the project Blatnik Bridge project, which will address aging infrastructure, improve safety and better accommodate oversize/overweight load.
They list purpose of the project as:
- Significant deterioration in truss elements
- Safety inspection is required every year, which requires lane closures for one to three weeks
- Additional maintenance causes lane closures up to three times annually
- Significant steel and cable repairs were required in 2016 after inspection revealed increased deterioration
- Reactionary structural repair needed every four years
- In June 2019, main truss span and approach spans were load posted for 40 tons and therefore can no longer accommodate overweight loads
- Increased road user delays for scheduled bridge maintenance activities and inspections
Northland motorists are advised a temporary shoulder closure will be required in October when final drain grates are installed.