Minnesota bridge reopens after barge accident

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ST. PAUL, Minn. – Union Pacific has partially repaired a bridge over the Mississippi more than a month after it was struck by a barge in St. Paul. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that UP opened the Hoffman Bridge, located southeast of downtown near Pigs Eye Lake, to rail traffic earlier this week.

A barge had struck one the bridge piers on Oct. 26, causing a truss to fall up to 6 feet toward the water. The barge strike damaged the center pivot support and caused the bridge to list to one side, with parts of the bridge sheared off from the piers. No one was injured in the incident and the National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate the incident. The U.S. Coast Guard initially said it would take up to a year to repair the bridge, but UP has done the work in less than two months. However, additional work remains and until it is completed, river traffic will be restricted to one lane under the bridge instead of two.

The St. Paul Bridge & Terminal Railway built the bridge between 1909 and 1910. It was leased to the Chicago Great Western in 1935. CGW merged with Chicago & North Western in 1968, and the bridge became UP property when it purchased C&NW in 1995. The bridge is 1,275 feet long with a 401-foot swing span.

The bridge spans the Mississippi between UP’s South St. Paul and Hoffman Avenue yards, but with the bridge out of service, direct access to Hoffman Yard has been cut off. The bridge is used by yard jobs, trains from UP’s ex-Rock Island "Spine Line," and trains to Superior, Wis.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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