MNDOT Upgrades Blatnik Bridge From Deficient To Adequate
The "deficient" rating that the Blatnik Bridge has carried for the past few years has been upgraded. The results of survey work from last summer have resulted in officials with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The bridge that spans the St. Louis River - connecting Duluth and Superior - is now considered "adequate".
It appears that recent work to strengthen the gusset plates that hold parts of the bridge together have been successful; three rounds of work has been accomplished on the gusset plates and the results lead directly to the new status upgrade.
Nonetheless, officials with MNDOT have no plans to deviate from their long-range plans of replacement. Engineers have suggested a new or re-purposed bridge in that location by 2028 - a date that is only ten years away.
Two semi-unrelated survey projects will enhance whatever the future lies for the Highway 53 crossing. MNDOT has started researching what to do with the "Can Of Worms" intersection that the Blatnik Bridge connects to on the Minnesota side; the various ramps and intersections that make up the area are notorious for high crash numbers. In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is studying traffic flows on the Superior-side of the Blatnik as part of a long-range approach to reducing auto crashes.