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New bridge won't include light rail

  • Article by: Curt Brown
  • Star Tribune
  • August 13, 2007 - 3:50 PM

Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau and Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell have advised the state that the new I-35W bridge won't include light rail because of emergency federal funding rules.

At a briefing this afternoon, Lucy Kender, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said a preliminary sketch of the new bridge will be released Tuesday. A joint House and Senate committee will hold hearings on the new span Wednesday.

There also will be a public open house at Roseville Area High School at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss the preliminary sketch. Kender said that Molnau, who serves at transportation commissioner, and Bell have sent a letter to Gov. Tim Pawlenty saying that light rail does not qualify for $250 million of federal money earmarked for the new bridge.

Kender said bike lanes and pedestrian access to the bridge also might be limited by federal rules.

About two-thirds of the 100 vehicles that were on the bridge when it collapsed Aug. 1 have been removed and the remnants of the bridge, including 23 vehicles that were hauled from the site on Sunday. Navy divers were back in the Mississippi River today but have reported finding no more victims.

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