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Reader's View: Tell us reasons behind Blatnik boondoggle

In response to several of my inquiries, I was informed that the current bridge is beyond its useful life.

Reader's View.jpg
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In July, during Sidewalk Days on Superior Street, I talked with a representative of the Minnesota Department of Transportation about the proposed new bridge to replace the Blatnik Bridge, which is now in use (“Blatnik will be rebuilt: Bridge to likely feature new Wisconsin connector ,” July 13).

In response to several of my inquiries, I was informed that the current bridge is beyond its useful life. I inquired about safety and got the same answer. I was told the total cost for replacement was estimated at $1.8 billion.

News articles have indicated that the 1½-mile-long bridge requires much maintenance, specifically truss work. There reportedly are vehicle-mobility and vehicle-safety issues.

I wonder, who makes such decisions? What criteria are used? Is there some type of “USE BY” date somewhere on the bridge that I’ve never seen? How can the public hear the reasons used to decide that the current bridge is deficient?

In my opinion, we in Duluth should be investing large amounts in street and pothole repair. Duluth has a notorious reputation around the state for its poor street repair and potholes so deep they damage automobiles. We may soon be known for having the most expensive bridge in Minnesota history leading to some of the worst streets in the entire state.

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It is my personal opinion that replacing the current Blatnik Bridge is an unnecessary boondoggle, and its $1.8 billion estimate is before cost overruns; it will be expensive, not needed, and will tie up traffic and hurt local businesses for years.

It doesn't matter if funding is, in part, from the federal government. We all pay federal taxes. I am retired and still pay federal and state taxes, as well as taxes on fuel and tires. Federal money, like state money, is still our money. Nothing is free.

Bryce Makela

Duluth

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