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Money concerns cited in bridge collapse

Concerns that repairing or replacing a Minneapolis MN bridge would be a “budget buster” may have spurred poor maintenance decisions before its collapse August 1, 2007, killing 13 people and injuring 145 others, a report found.

Commissioned by the Minnesota Legislature, the report also criticized the Minnesota Department of Transportation for bridge inspections that were mishandled or not done, even when immediate repairs were urged.

The department has been sharply criticized for its maintenance of the 40-year-old Interstate 35W bridge. Much of the report cited flaws in the way the state DOT performed inspections, then reacted to what was discovered. The report mentioned a lag of up to six months between an inspection and a report being written.

Expected to be completed by autumn 2008, the new bridge will cost at least $230 million. The NTSB probe should be finished later in 2008.

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