Key Winona pedestrian bridge to be torn down after semi bashes it

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State transportation officials say a pedestrian bridge near St. Mary's University in Winona will be torn down after it was damaged by a semi-truck hauling a crane Monday afternoon, KTTC reports.

The station says the eastbound semi, which had a crane loaded on a flatbed behind the rig, damaged the St. Mary's University pedestrian bridge that spans Highway 14 just after 2 p.m. Monday. The damage occurred when the top of the crane hit the underside of the bridge, which reportedly twisted and mangled the structure.

The Winona Daily News says no students were on the bridge at the time of the accident.

A St. Mary's University official tells the Daily News that an email was sent to students Monday to inform them of the accident and remind them to be cautious when they cross the busy highway.

According to the newspaper, the pedestrian bridge connects many of the students' dorms on the other side of the highway to the main campus.

There was no immediate word on bridge replacement plans.

After the crash, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials originally closed the bridge and diverted traffic on Highway 14, but after closer inspection, they determined the structure should be torn down.

"We feel it is at risk of collapse and want to ensure that the public is kept safe until we can remove the bridge," said Steven Kirsch, MnDOT assistant district engineer for program support, according to KTTC.

The demolition of the bridge will mean detours, likely for a few days, on eastbound Highway 14 until the work is complete. Transportation officials say traffic will be diverted to Winona County Road 23 north at Stockton to Highway 61 south at Minnesota City. It was not clear Monday exactly how long the detour will be in effect, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reported.

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