MnDOT crews successfully finished pushing the Larpenteur Avenue bridge over I-35E into place early Friday, finishing the job just before 2 a.m.

The plan had been to complete the job Wednesday night into Thursday, but an unforseen snag forced crews to complete the task Thursday night into Friday. Because some of the steel pieces didn't have enough tolerance to move as planned, crews were only able to complete half of the move Wednesday.

The new 3.5 million-pound deck and beams was built on a temporary structure immediately north of the where the old bridge was. MnDOT used hydraulic jacks to push the new bridge 84 feet onto the newly constructed new piers and abutments.

"Sliding the bridge went well, after adjustments were made to the location of the guide plates on the slide tables," said Nancy Daubenberger, state bridge engineer.  "This method successfully reduced construction time and effectively managed dollars for Minnesota."

It will still be two to three weeks before the bridge opens to traffic, MnDOT said.

The project includes adding a new MnPASS lane to the current three lanes between Little Canada Road and Maryland Avenue, rebuilding bridges along that stretch and resurfacing the freeway.  Work also continues on rebuilding I-35E between the Maryland Avenue and University Avenue.

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