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Gov. Schweitzer receives report on Montana-wide bridge inspections

| August 8, 2007 12:00 AM

Gov. Brian Schweitzer asked Montana Department of Transportation Director Jim Lynch on Friday for a report on Montana bridges.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer received the report Monday on the state's 5,002 bridges and expressed confidence the bridges are safe after reviewing inspection procedures, according to reports.

"In light of the bridge collapsing in Minnesota [Wednesday], I wanted to make sure we are doing all we can to ensure folks are safe in Montana," stated Gov. Schweitzer in a press release.

Montana has a very aggressive bridge inspection program. Bridges are inspected every two years.

"We have full-time bridge inspectors," said Lynch. "They work hard everyday to ensure that our bridges are safe and structurally sound."

The increased insistance on checking the safety of bridges is due to the Aug. 1 collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis. At 6:04 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 1 the bridge underneath several travelers collapsed without warning sending several motorists and passengers into the Mississippi River below them. At least five people are dead from the collapse and several more are still missing.

"Because of the incident in Minnesota, there has been an intensified push to do more inspections," said Van Swearingen, supervisor of the Libby Field Office of the Montana Dept. of Transportation.