Somber procession planned for new Minneapolis span

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A slow, somber procession of motorists across the Mississippi River Thursday will mark the opening of the new bridge replacing one that collapsed last year, killing 13 people.

In announcing the opening and unveiling the design of a permanent memorial to the dead and injured, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said, "These lanes will forever be sacred because of the 13 people who lost their lives here."

The new concrete span for Interstate 35W includes high-tech sensors and backup features, something the 40-year-old steel truss bridge it replaces did not have. The bridge, which cost 234 million dollars, was fast-tracked to restore the major Minneapolis artery, which accounts for 140,000 trips a day.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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