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Hastings bridge work halted by shutdown

All work on the new Hastings bridge has ceased.

With the state shutdown putting the Minnesota Department of Transportation on hold indefinitely, all work on state projects has come to a stop.

The setback is nothing new to the project. High water late last fall slowed down work, but crews were able to catch up. The bigger problem came this spring with significant flooding and then an extended period of high water. Crews were just preparing to get back in the river, but the shutdown foiled those plans.

It is unclear how the shutdown will affect the long-term project schedule. The bridge is slated for completion by May 31, 2013.

State Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, expressed disappointment in an e-mail to his constituents early Friday morning.

"I am extremely disappointed Governor Dayton chose not to call a special session this evening so the legislature could pass a 10 day temporary funding bill," he wrote. "This temporary bill would have continued state government funding at rates established during our last budget cycle.

"The Legislature could have also approve funding for the areas of government where we agreed on a total dollar amount with Governor Dayton, which I also found discouraging. That would have kept MnDOT road construction jobs like our Hastings bridge project going. State parks and the Minnesota Zoo could have stayed open for this busy Fourth of July weekend."