DULUTH – The Aerial Lift Bridge has been stuck in the down position since Monday afternoon, potentially hampering shipping traffic in and out of Duluth's harbor.
"Lift Bridge operations have temporarily closed due to weight from ice," a city statement said Monday afternoon. De-icing operations will start Tuesday at 10 a.m., which will force off and on closures of the bridge to traffic until the bridge is fully operational again.
One ship, the Malta-flagged Maria G, had to go the long way around through the Superior Entry on its way to Riverland Ag/Duluth Storage to load wheat on Monday, said Duluth Seaway Port Authority spokesman Jayson Hron.
"The nuance there is that the Superior front channel is slightly shallower than the Duluth ship canal, so the captains would have to navigate with extra caution, particularly near some of the shoal areas," Hron said. "It could equate to higher costs for the time required to bring the ship through — it's the old adage, time is money."
The bridge had been stuck since 1 p.m., Hron said Monday.
It's rare for the bridge to be inoperable, he said, but still "certainly unpleasant and costly to shipping operations."