Not so fast!  The Minnesota Department of Transportation has plans to replace the aging Blatnik Bridge that spans the St. Louis River with something else in 2028.  Until that time, the state transportation agency needs to continue to perform maintenance work on the structure to maintain that it will remain safe and serviceable until the end of its lifetime.

Along those lines, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has a summer-long maintenance project scheduled for the Blatnik Bridge; that work is set to start right after Memorial Day on Tuesday, May 31.

According to project details shared by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, work crews will spend the summer making improvements to the bridge structure.  Here's a brief look at what that maintenance work will entail:

  • Drainage system improvements
  • Deck repairs and a full deck seal
  • Painting of suspender ropes and truss sections
  • Concrete barrier repairs
  • Clean and seal deck joints
  • Concrete surface repairs
  • Surface finish of piers

To accommodate the work and the crew from MNDOT, drivers should anticipate encountering single lane closures on both the northbound and the southbound lanes; one lane of traffic will be maintained in each direction on the bridge at all times.

Blatnik Bridge (US Highway 53) between Duluth, MN and Superior, WI
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

Total cost for this summer's maintenance work on the Blatnik Bridge will total around $6.3 million.  The expense and the work is necessary to ensure that the structure will continue to servicable until it's no longer needed, following the replacement.  MNDOT has that replacement scheduled to happen in 2028.

The timeline for completion of this summer's maintenance work has it expected to wrap up at some point in September, 2022.

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