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15th Street bridge to open within two weeks

BEMIDJI -- The 15th Street bridge, damaged July 13 after a semi travelling on U.S. Highway 2 struck it, will reopen soon thanks to patchwork repairs, but will be under new weight restrictions until more permanent fixes can be made.

Beltrami County emergency management director Beryl Wernberg said she expects the bridge to be open by Aug. 5.

“A MnDOT engineering evaluation shows four of the six bridge beams sustained damage and will eventually need to be replaced,” Wernberg wrote in an email. “The bridge will reopen with weight restrictions after traffic control signs and traffic barriers are installed. The weight restrictions will not affect school bus traffic. Crews will also encase the damaged beams to ensure that no loose concrete falls onto Highway 2 during the winter.”

The eastern span of the bridge will be replaced next year, Wernberg said.

The driver of the semi, 61-year-old Dennis Wagner of International Falls, was cited for wrong class/no endorsement, not possessing a log book and not having a medical card, according to Minnesota State Patrol public information officer Jesse Grabow.

Justin Glawe
Reporting on crime, courts and Beltrami county government. Follow me on Twitter @JustinGlawe.
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