Work begins on new I-35W bridge

Construction on the bridge structure that will replace the collapsed I-35W span started today.

Today crews will begin drilling a test shaft on the north side of the river using a diesel-powered drill rig. The process tests how deep crews must drill to support the bridge’s weight. Work hours stretch from Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m.–4:30 a.m.

Crews are also demolishing concrete this week on the south side of the Mississippi.

Next week, the construction team is scheduled to begin pile driving the “H” beams. The work should generate lots of noise, and work hours for pile driving are 7 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The bridge is scheduled to be open to traffic by Dec. 24, 2008.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Norm Coleman also announced today that the United States Department of Transportation has released more than $123 million in Emergency Relief funds for the new I-35W bridge. The department previously released $55 million for bridge recovery and rebuilding efforts.