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Highway 52 Lafayette Bridge in St. Paul

Highway 52 Lafayette Bridge in St. Paul
Highway 52 Lafayette Bridge in St. Paul/Photo by Alissa Haupt

Issues: The Lafayette Bridge was constructed in 1968 using a design typical of the time. Similar to many bridges of the era, it has problems with structural steel fatigue. It also has inadequate shoulders, deteriorating concrete and rust issues. It does not carry the traffic volume it should. In 1985, a beam broke and the bridge tipped a bit, requiring major repairs. There are entrance and exit issues on the interchange with Lafayette Road, East Seventh Street and I-94, which could require more extensive construction.

Fracture critical? Yes

Structurally deficient? Yes

Sufficiency rating: 49.5

Deck rating: 5

Superstructure rating: 4

Substructure rating: 7

Length: 3,366 feet

Width: 67.3 feet

Average daily traffic: 81,000 vehicles

Passes over: Mississippi River

Constructed in: 1968

Construction starts in: 2010

Construction should finish: between 2013 and 2014

Cost: $170 million to $200 million

Detour: There will be no detour. Traffic will be maintained on the existing bridge during construction of the new one.

New bridge: The new bridge will have two separate structures. As the first structure is constructed, traffic will be maintained on the old bridge. Traffic will transfer to the first new structure while the second part is built.

Source: Minnesota Department of Transportation

Alleen Brown is a senior journalism and global studies student at the University of Minnesota.

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