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Minnesota bridge ordered closed for safety concerns

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  • Officials shut down Minnesota bridge, citing safety concerns
  • Recent inspection found bending in plates that connect steel beams
  • Bridge located nearly 60 miles from site of Interstate-35W bridge collapse
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(CNN) -- Officials in Minnesota have closed a major bridge on the Mississippi River, citing safety concerns, the state's transportation department announced Thursday.

The bridge is about 60 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed August 1, 2007, during the evening rush hour, killing 13 people and injured 145.

"The bridge will remain closed until it either can be repaired, or if repairs are not possible, until the bridge can be replaced," said acting Transportation Commissioner Bob McFarlin.

"The safety of the public is our first and foremost concern. We are taking a conservative approach in closing the bridge until we are absolutely sure it is safe for operation," he added.

A recent inspection showed bending in plates that connect steel beams that support the span.

The 890-foot-long bridge in St. Cloud, Minnesota, was built in 1957. It carries four lanes of traffic and approximately 31,000 vehicles a day.

In the weeks after the August collapse, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark Rosenker said investigators observed a "design issue" with the bridge's support plates. He didn't elaborate.

The state has since launched a statewide bridge inspection program, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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