(3/5/12) Businesses that are mining frac-sand in western Wisconsin are putting added pressures on a bridge that was temporarily closed in 2008, while corroded plates were fixed.
The Winona Daily News says permits have been approved for up to 700 trucks a day to use the Mississippi River bridge into Winona Minnesota, where specialized sand for oil-and-gas drilling is shipped for processing. But Gopher State officials say they’re not concerned for now, as long as the loads are limited to 40 tons each. That’s the limit on the bridge, which is part of Minnesota Highway 43 and is located just off Highway 54 on the Wisconsin side. Minnesota runs and maintains the bridge – and the D-O-T says its long-term strength will not be compromised if weight limits are followed. The State Patrol helps make sure they’re observed. The bridge is scheduled to be upgraded in 2014, depending on input from federal officials and Minnesota’s Historic Preservation Office. In the meantime, mining permits have been approved for six new frac-sand mines in Trempealeau County – up from the present three with two more proposed. And Buffalo County has four new mines approved with a fifth under consideration. Two of Buffalo County’s mines plan to use the Winona bridge.