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Continued: Should this bridge be open?

Over the course of three or four years, Braun said, he was shown rusty steel plates and, one year, a rusty joint pin. Every time he went from the State Capitol to the airport, he drove under the bridge. It "raised doubts in my mind as to what we were doing," he said. "One day I just decided by myself that I was going to close the bridge."

There was no money set aside to replace it.

"I had no backing from anyone," Braun said.

He called a news conference and announced the closure.

"I really caught hell, especially from the restaurant owner south of the river," Braun said. The restaurant owner, he said, threatened to get a court order prohibiting the shutdown.

"I responded that I had given this some thought and felt it was a reasonable approach. ... The judge could do with it whatever he wanted, open it, close it, allow one-way traffic, metering the traffic," Braun said. "I could sleep a lot better at night."

Staff writers Laurie Blake and Dan Browning contributed to this report. Pam Louwagie • 612-673-7102 James Walsh • 651-298-1541 Paul McEnroe • 612-673-1745

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