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Crews Trying To Figure Out Why Bridge Broke

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis city crews have been working around the clock trying to figure out what caused cables to snap on the Sabo Pedestrian Bridge.

The Hiawatha Light Rail is now allowed to go under the bridge, but traffic is still blocked in the area. It has become a priority for city workers and engineers to figure out what caused cables to fray and break loose from the bridge.

At the moment, there are not many theories, but there are lots of rumors about what may have forced the closure of the 5-year-old bridge.

The problem is obvious: the cable once connected to the top of the pylon somehow came loose. Now crews have begun the long and tedious process of determining exactly why it happened.

Mark Emery is one of many people who live in Minneapolis who wonder if what they saw on the bridge a week ago is connected to the problem.

Emery says he was riding with a friend when he noticed a police cruiser on the pedestrian bridge.

“A cop car came across with his lights going east to west. But then a HCMC ambulance also came across also going east to west, and then right away in my head — I have mechanical engineering in my background — I said, ‘I’ve ridden across that bridge a thousand times and I’ve never seen a gross vehicle weight sign,’” Emery said.

A spokesperson for the City of Minneapolis said they are aware of the emergency call that sent medics, fire and police to the bridge. But the bridge, the city says, is designed to handle the weight of emergency vehicles.

It can handle up to 20 tons, and right now investigators do not believe that emergency run played a role in the forced closure of the bridge.

WCCO obtained a picture from a city worker that shows the bridge piece the cable was connected to. The city confirmed the piece of the bridge is where the problem began; they just don’t know how it failed.

Right now, light rail is the only traffic allowed under the bridge until they determine it’s safe for all traffic.

“They are taking the right safety precautions, I think,” Emery said.

The City of Minneapolis has hired an independent engineering firm to figure out what went wrong. They, as well as city workers, are using the space below the bridge as a staging area, so no one is willing to say how long it will be before Hiawatha Avenue is open to traffic.

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