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Caltrans clears state's bridges

The 69 spans similar to the failed Minnesota structure, including 11 locally, are safe despite a 'structurally deficient' designation, officials say.

August 07, 2007|James Ricci | Times Staff Writer

Caltrans officials Monday completed their emergency structural inspections of 69 California bridges similar to the one that collapsed in Minneapolis last week, and found none that needed to be closed.

Agency spokesman Matt Rocco said 35 inspectors fanned out through the state beginning Thursday to examine spans, including 11 in Southern California, that were built with steel trusses similar to those that failed in Minnesota.

Authorities have confirmed five deaths so far in Wednesday's collapse of the Interstate 35 West bridge in Minneapolis.

Rescuers were still looking for eight people who might have perished.

In Caltrans District 7, which covers Los Angeles and Ventura counties, five bridges were inspected.

One is a state-owned bridge on California 39 over the San Gabriel River in Azusa.

"It was found to be fine," said district spokeswoman Maria Raptis. "There have been no changes since the last inspection in June '06. We found no problems."

The other district spans were L.A. County-owned bridges on North Fork Road in San Gabriel Canyon and on Whittier Boulevard over Rio Hondo, and L.A. city-owned bridges over the Los Angeles River on Riverside Drive and on Colfax Avenue near Elysian Park.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday, August 14, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part Page News Desk 1 inches; 56 words Type of Material: Correction
Bridge inspections: An article in the Aug. 7 California section about emergency structural inspections of 69 California bridges similar to the one that collapsed in Minneapolis said that one of the bridges that passed was an L.A. city-owned bridge over the Los Angeles River on Colfax Avenue near Elysian Park. That bridge is near Studio City.

All were found to be usable.

The 69 bridges are among 2,994 in the state that federal officials have found to be "structurally deficient," meaning in need of major maintenance, rebuilding or replacing.

Caltrans officials have emphasized that "structurally deficient" does not mean unsafe for vehicular traffic.

They've also contended that California bridges are safer than those in other parts of the country because they were built to withstand earthquakes.

jim.ricci@latimes.com

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