New interstate bridge in Minneapolis opens

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Many Minnesota commuters are taking advantage of the new Interstate 35W "smart bridge" that opened this morning, a little more than a year after the old one collapsed.

The new span opened up just after 5 a.m. in downtown Minneapolis. Retired truck driver Donald Brown says he was the first in line to cross on the bridge's northbound side. Since he used to cross the old bridge about a dozen times a week, he says he's glad to have the crossing back.

The 234-million-dollar bridge took just 11 months to build and contains hundreds of sensors to collect data and detect small problems before they become big ones.

Thirteen people died when the previous bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River in August of last year.

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

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