MnDOT says Winona bridge over the Mississippi is ‘structurally deficient’ but safe

A new state inspection of the bridge over the Mississippi River in Winona found that it is still “structurally deficient” but remains safe.

A new span over the river is already under construction there and should be completed in 2019 or 2020, according to the Rochester Post-Bulletin. When the new bridge is ready, the old bridge will be renovated because it’s eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, and “worthy of preservation.” 

The paper said this month’s inspection of the bridge — on Hwy. 43 — is still being finalized, but “there were no significant findings, no critical findings,” said Craig Lenz, MnDOT district bridge engineer. “We’re observing the same type of deterioration, but it’s not a significant progression from last year.”

The “structurally deficient” rating means “the bridge is safe but in need of repair, closer monitoring or weight restrictions so that it does not become unsafe.”

Officials keep a close eye on such bridges: “If we ever observe anything that would make a bridge unsafe, we’d close it as fast as we could,” Lenz said. “And we’ve done that before.”

Of the Winona bridge, he said: “We haven’t had any new critical findings. If we ever find any, we will close the bridge. We keep it open as long as we consider it safe for legal loads.”

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