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Federal Investigators Identify Potential Design Flaw in Minnesota Bridge

August 09, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS --- Investigators believe that a design flaw in the steel parts that connect girders may have contributed to the bridge collapse in Minneapolis last week. As a result, the Federal Highway Administration is urging all states to carefully monitor how much weight they place on bridges when sending construction crews to the structures, the New York Times reported. The National Transportation Safety Board's investigation is still in its early stages, however, and work is underway to confirm whether a design flaw in the gusset plates was in fact a factor in the collapse. This theory raises considerable safety concerns because gusset plates are used in the construction of many bridges of different designs. Gusset plates are the steel connectors used to hold together the girders on the truss of a bridge. "Given the questions being raised by the NTSB, it is vital that states remain mindful of the extra weight construction projects place on bridges," Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters said in a released statement.
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