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    :: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 ::

    Did heat, rusted plates doom bridge? - By Tony Kennedy and Paul McEnroestar, Minneapolis Star Tribune
    Roller bearings are mounted on top of bridge piers. They support the weight of the bridge and contain steel cylinders that allow the bridge to roll smoothly back and forth as it expands and contracts with temperature changes.

    MnDOT officials had long known from their inspections that the bearings were not working correctly because of corrosion and buildup of debris. And in July 2006, a consultant's report highlighted the problem. "The bearings are not allowing the structure to move linearly with changes in the ... temperature," the report said.

    Roller bearings recovered from the river are stacked neatly in the NTSB's secure area for inspection. One of the structural engineers who asked not to be named said the bearings appear to be lacking marks of wear, indicating they may have been locked up or their movement restricted by debris and corrosion.
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