MnDOT turns over Wakota Bridge papers

  • Updated: November 6, 2007 - 8:17 PM

MnDOT unexpectedly released 38 boxes of documents Tuesday concerning the Wakota Bridge project.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation on Tuesday released 38 boxes of documents relating to the Wakota Bridge project to the House Commerce and Labor Committee, which had been seeking the information since June.

The half-finished two-bridge project is three years behind schedule and nearly $20 million over budget. Cracks in support ramps for the deck on one of the bridge's led to a retrofit. Then more delays and cost overruns led MnDOT to fire the contractor and put the project on Interstate 494 up for rebidding.

The committee's chairman, Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL- Inver Grove Heights, said the documents could provide insight into what caused the delays.

"I was anticipating only another box or two," he said. "I'm curious where all these documents were a month ago. This is like being told to expect a sunfish and reeling in the Loch Ness monster instead."

At an Oct. 4 hearing, Atkins threatened to issue a legislative subpoena if the committee didn't receive the documents. At the time, MnDOT officials indicated few boxes of documents were being withheld, according to a statement from Atkins.

Original plans projected a Nov. 17 completion date, but currently the east side span has only ramps with no bridge between, Atkins said. "Right now, Evil Knievel is about the only one who might be able to cross the bridge on Nov. 17," he said.

Calls to a MnDOT spokesman were not returned.


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