MOA ramp remains closed

  • Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 6, 2012 - 10:00 PM

The portion affected by Friday's fatal accident is being studied for repair. The rest is sound, engineers said.

A Mall of America parking deck where the driver of a rental truck was killed Friday night could remain closed throughout the week while repairs are made, officials said Monday.

Despite damage to the concrete where a support beam landed, engineers have determined that the rest of the structure is safe to use.

"I have a lot of faith in the engineers," said Assistant Bloomington Police Chief Rick Hart. "I don't think they would have all that traffic in the ramp if they thought it was a threat."

However, the portion of the ramp where the accident happened remains closed while engineering firms and consultants determine the best way to repair the damage, which affects about 50 parking spaces, said Mall of America spokeswoman Bridget Jewell.

In the meantime, the Lindau Lane entrance to the west parking ramp remains closed. Drivers can still get into the ramp from the Killebrew Drive entrance.

Raheem Aaron Waheed, 52, died after not heeding a height warning at the entrance to the west lot, and driving a U-Haul truck into an area too low for the vehicle. Just inside the entrance, he struck a concrete-and-steel support beam, which fell on the cab, crushing it.

Waheed, who had no permanent address, died at the scene. Two others in the truck, a 45-year-old woman and her 12-year-old daughter, were hospitalized but were not seriously hurt.

Police said that although the empty U-Haul exceeded the ramp's 7-foot height limit, it passed under a hanging device intended to alert drivers to the limit. Waheed might not have seen it, authorities said. It was the first overhead span, located on the north side of the West lot.

Bloomington City Engineer Shelly Pederson did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Hart said investigators are still reviewing surveillance video of the incident, which they will turn over to structural engineers who are working with the city. They already inspected the ramp for other residual effects from the accident but are confident it's safe.

"It's been 20 years since it's been open and we haven't had another instance like this," Hart said. "He was amply warned and obviously made a tragic mistake."

Abby Simons • 612-673-4921

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