TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Monday, March 24, 2008

2003 Photos Show Bends in Minnesota Bridge Gusset Plates

In news that is certain to be central to litigation over the Minnesota bridge collapse, the AP (via the Washington Post) reports that 2003 photos showed bends in gusset plates that are now believed to be among the key failure points in the collapse.

The two photos are believed to have been taken by URS Inc., a San Francisco consulting firm the state hired to examine the bridge from 2003 to 2007.

"URS and the state have both got a lot of explaining to do as far as why (the bending) was not observed, and if it was observed, why that was not immediately investigated," James Schwebel, an attorney representing a group of victims, told the AP on Sunday. "How could it possibly have been missed?"

No lawsuit has been filed, but Schwebel said his engineering experts are studying the information.

Attorney Phil Sieff, who represents another group of plaintiffs, said the deformation could have affected how much weight the gusset plate could hold.


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