Motorists heading to Duluth or driving through the city on their way up the North Shore can expect significant traffic delays due to the indefinite closure of the region's major transportation artery, Interstate 35. There will be multiple detours around the closure.
The Northland's News Center reports the two-mile stretch of the southbound lanes of I-35 closed on Monday.
Bridge inspectors identified a deteriorated piling that must be repaired before the lanes can reopen. The Duluth News Tribune reports the stretch will remain closed on a precautionary basis for at least a week, possibly longer. The newspaper said inspectors found the faulty piling, which was “...was so corroded we could see through it,” according to Duane Hill, chief district engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
WDIO reported that stretch of the highway is built on pilings, also known as piers. Inspectors identified deterioration in seven pilings that support one pier. Hill said the pilings have not failed but need immediate repair. MnDOT will begin the repair with its maintenance crew before a contractor is hired, which is expected to happen Tuesday.
“We really don’t know how long it’s going to take until we get in there and start work,” Hill said.