Larpenteur Bridge 'slide-in' project to continue Thursday night

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Thanks to a new "slide-in" technique, the new Larpenteur Bridge over I-35E in the Twin Cities is being pushed into place, KSTP reports.

But crews hit a snag and didn't get the whole job done overnight as expected. FOX 9 has photos of the work.

Highway crews overnight used four hydraulic jacks to start pushing the 3.5 million-pound replacement span into place. The span was built just adjacent to where the old bridge was removed.

The bridge was expected to be pushed entirely into place overnight, but crews only got about halfway done, Kevin Gutknect, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, tweeted. Work will continue Thursday at 10 p.m., he says.

The slide-in construction technique has previously been used in states like Oregon, Utah, Missouri, Michigan, Colorado and Massachusetts, but the Larpenteur Bridge project marks the first time it's been utilized in Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports.

The big plus for using the technique, the Minnesota Department of Transportation says, is amount of time saved on construction.

"Doing this bridge under conventional methods, the closure would be about 110 days," project manager Dave Herzog tells KSTP. "With the method we're using here, we're going to get it completed and open in about 47 days."

Once the new bridge is in place, there will still be more work to do. Herzog says it will take three more weeks to connect Larpenteur Ave. and reopen traffic lanes.

Meanwhile, traffic is open again on I-35E between I-94 and Hwy. 36. Traffic closed Wednesday at 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Thursday so crews could start sliding the new Larpenteur Bridge into place.

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