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The cable bridge, above, is one of two designs still on the table for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The cable bridge would cost $265 million to build and its maintenance would cost $8 million.

New bridge type? Stay tuned

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Hastings residents will have to wait a little while longer to find out what the new Highway 61 bridge will look like.

At a public meeting Wednesday afternoon at City Hall, transportation officials announced they have two bridge options still in the running.

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The new bridge will either be the cable-supported design or the arch design.

On Tuesday, Minnesota Department of Transportation officials eliminated the twin box girder bridge design from consideration .

MnDOT will now put out a request for proposal for both bridge types and see what it receives back from contractors.

MnDOT officials met with representatives from the Federal Highway Administration Tuesday to make the decision. Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks and City Administrator Dave Osberg were also present at the meeting.

MnDOT officials cited community identity as a reason the cable bridge and arch bridge moved forward as options.

MnDOT will estimate a price for each bridge, and then ask contractors if they can do one of the two options for less than the estimate. It is hoped in the end this will lead to a lower price for the bridge.

MnDOT is working toward having the bridge under a design-build contract by June 2010.

Because both the cable-supported and arch bridges are single spans, they would be built directly to the west of the existing bridge, where traffic would remain until the new bridge is complete. Once traffic is shifted onto the new bridge, the current bridge would be torn down.

It's estimated the arch bridge would cost $262 million. It would cost $10.5 million to maintain the bridge over 100 years.

The cable bridge would cost $265 million to build and its maintenance would cost $8 million.

If the project is under a design-build contract in June 2010, site work would begin immediately. The construction time is about three and a half years for either bridge.

Project Manager Steve Kordosky said he went over the three options that were then still on the table, and the group discussed how they differed in terms of things like cost, construction time, future maintenance, right-of-way impact, and more. They reviewed the work of the Visual Quality Team and went over the more than 70 comments MnDOT received on the environmental assessment.

The final decision fell to MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel and Deputy Commissioner Khani Sahebjam. Kordosky said MnDOT does not use a formula or specific weighting process in making decisions on bridge designs.

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