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Inspectors find cracks on remaining cable plates on Minneapolis pedestrian bridge

A Minneapolis official says the failure on the Martin Sabo pedestrian bridge happened with what's known as a diaphragm plate. Deputy Public Works Director Heidi Hamilton tells the city council more of the plates are also cracked. She says it may take months to repair, but she's confident there is a retrofit solution.
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A Minneapolis official says the failure on the Martin Sabo pedestrian bridge happened with what's known as a diaphragm plate. Deputy Public Works Director Heidi Hamilton tells the city council more of the plates are also cracked. She says it may take months to repair, but she's confident there is a retrofit solution.

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Sabo bridge plates had 'poor fatigue resistance'

Cable diaphragm plates that cracked on the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge, leading officials to shut down the span for months this year, had "welded details that offer poor fatigue resistance," according to a 140-page report released Friday by the city of Minneapolis.

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An engineer told the Star Tribune he noticed "high stresses" on a plate anchoring a set of cables during construction of the Sabo Bridge in 2006. The bridge was closed last month after an anchor plate cracked and caused cables to fall 100 feet.

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Hennepin County and the city of Minneapolis released this press release Friday. In short, a preliminary report suggests that wind is to blame for the failure of two cable connections on the Martin Olav Sabo pedestrian and biking bridge in Minneapolis. The bridge was closed from Feb. 19 to June 1.

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Officials say that Minneapolis is striving to reopen the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge by June 4, the Star Tribune reports. The bicycle and pedestrian span over Hiawatha Avenue has been closed for three months, after the fracture of a steel anchor led the bridge’s tallest set of cables to fall from the mast on Feb 19.

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The Sabo bridge, which was closed after a pair of support cables broke in February, is reopening Friday afternoon to foot and bike traffic. Structural support was added underneath the bridge deck. Minneapolis is awaiting a report on what caused the cables to break loose.

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A major inspection of Minneapolis' Martin Sabo Bridge less than six months ago failed to turn up anything to forecast the broken cable that now has the bridge closed. With the support cable gone, Metro Transit has declilned to run light rail trains under the bridge -- creating headaches for commuters.

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City officials say it could take months to learn why one of the bridge's cables broke, shutting down traffic on the busy street and light rail track that run beneath it. The bike-and-pedestrian bridge is only five years old and had recently passed an inspection.

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