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I-35W bridge replacement named one of America’s 10 best transportation projects

Monday, September 14th, 2009 at 10:56 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Interstate 35W bridge replacement project has been selected as one the nation’s 10 best transportation projects for 2009 by the American Automobile Association, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The top 10 projects will compete for America’s Transportation Awards’ Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award, which will be decided by popular vote. Online voting is underway at the competition’s official Web site through Oct. 23: www.americastransportationaward.org.

The projects were selected by a panel of judges who evaluated 50 highway projects from 33 states in three categories: “On Time,” “On Budget” and “Innovative Management.” Twenty-two winning projects were selected during four regional competitions.

Minnesota’s I-35W bridge was completed in September 2008, three months ahead of schedule, at a cost of $234 million. It was built using the design-build process, which allowed it to be completed in 339 days.

“More than 140,000 motorists crossed the I-35W span daily, so it was imperative for us to act quickly and replace the bridge,” said Khani Sahebjam, deputy commissioner. “The timely completion of the new bridge never would have been possible without the remarkable efforts of our partners.”

The new bridge also has the world’s largest anti-icing system and uses smart bridge technology, including 323 sensors that will generate a record of how the bridge manages the stresses of traffic.

Other project notables include: • Light rail transit-ready which may help accommodate future transportation needs. • Designed to be aesthetically pleasing and fit in with the surrounding environment. • 100-year life span. • 10 lanes of traffic, five in each direction-two lanes wider than the former bridge. • 13-foot wide right shoulders and 14-foot wide left shoulders, the previous bridge had no shoulders.

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