ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota transportation officials would have to follow specific instructions from state lawmakers when disposing of parts from the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge, under a bill introduced Monday.
The bill would create a disposal priority list. Internal agency discussions about the steel remnants from 2007 bridge collapse began when the final litigation ended last fall.READ MORE: Crane Falls Onto Blaine Power Lines Leaving 1,000 Residents Without Power
The bill would give the Minnesota Historical Society first chance to claim pieces free of charge. From there, parts would go to survivors and others most directly affected by the collapse; transportation safety agencies; and college engineering programs.
Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said MnDOT was seeking authorization for the parts giveaway because the state usually sells off surplus assets.
“People want to commemorate things. It’s like a memorial of some kind,” Winkler said.READ MORE: House Ethics Committee Postpones Hearing On Complaint Against Rep. John Thompson
In this case, it’s crumpled steel beams from the highway bridge that collapsed during rush hour that August, killing 13 people and injuring 145. Investigators mostly blamed an original design flaw but said there were contributing factors.
Agency officials say they want to be sensitive and safe when getting rid of the components, which are now in a massive storage shed near the Twin Cities. The bill would give the state protection from any liability due to things like effects of lead-based paint.
For now, the period for disposal is open-ended but Winkler envisions it happening over the course of a year or two. Whatever is left could be sold for scrap or melted down. Any proceeds from sales would go into the general treasury.
Winkler was co-sponsor of the law that created a victim compensation fund in the year after the collapse. Sen. Ron Latz, the other half of that effort, will sponsor the Senate version of the remnants bill.MORE NEWS: COVID In Minnesota: 375 New Cases Reported, Positivity Rate At 2.2%
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