Blatnik Bridge Reopens After Months of Construction
Posted at: 10/19/2012 5:39 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
After months of construction, the Blatnik Bridge reopened all lanes Friday. This change will make the commute between Duluth and Superior much easier for drivers.
"It's a big day," MnDOT Construction Resident Engineer Brian Larson said. "I appreciate the patience the people had over the course of the summer while the this work was being done on the Blatnik Bridge."
This change didn't just affect drivers. Many business owners said the detour not only rerouted people, but also their business.
"I feel sorry for every bar in town," High Fives on Fifth Owner Kevin Popovich said. "Everybody must have felt it, at varying degrees, but probably very seriously."
Popovich's bar is right off the entrance to the Blatnik Bridge. He said he lost about 40 to 50 percent of his business during the construction that forced drivers to take the Bong Bridge. While his business remained profitable, he is still celebrating the change.
"We're having a bridge opening party this Friday and Saturday," Popovich said. "We are just elated."
The 12.9 million dollar project replaced bridge joints and railing to the outside of the bridge. More construction will take place next summer, but Larson said at least one lane of traffic, each way, will remain open.