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Met Council to pull SW Corridor work from Sabo Bridge designers

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The Metropolitan Council is expected on Wednesday to make a remarkable change in course related to the Southwest Corridor light rail project, the Star Tribune reports.

The council had selected San Francisco-based URS Corp. for the engineering work, but has reconsidered given that the firm designed the Martin Olav Sabo pedestrian bridge in Minneapolis, which had to be closed earlier this year when cables broke loose. URS also had been a consultant to the state on the Interstate 35W bridge prior to its 2007 collapse, the newspaper notes.

Now the council plans to select two URS competitors, AECOM of Los Angeles and North Carolina-based Kimley-Horn and Associates, to do the work, the newspaper reports.

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Gov. Mark Dayton continues to voice his concerns with awarding California-based URS Corp. with a $100 million contract for engineering work. The company was a consultant on the I-35W bridge before it collapsed in 2007. The Southwest line would connect Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis.

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The Metropolitan Council has decided not to award a nearly $100 million contract to URS Corp. Instead, the Star Tribune reports the agency divided engineering work for the $1.25 billion Southwest Corridor light-rail line into four separate contracts. San Francisco-based URS will still be allowed to bid on the smaller contracts, despite its involvement with the Sabo pedestrian bridge and the Interstate 35W bridge before it collapsed in August 2007.

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URS Corp. of San Francisco is on a short list to receive a $100 million contract for engineering work on the light-rail line that would run from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. The Star Tribune reports URS was a consultant on the I-35W bridge before it collapsed in 2007. Gov. Mark Dayton has expressed concerns with the firm and vowed to issue an executive order barring it from state contracts until at least all lawsuits are settled.

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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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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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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.