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I35w firms deny financial liability

The design firm and construction contractors of the I35w bridge which collapsed in Minneapolis in August 2007 are fight calls from Minnesota State for them to reimburse £22M it paid to victims at a hearing this week.

The collapse of the I35W bridge in August 2007 killed 13 people.

Minnesota has paid out $37M (£22M) to 179 victims of the collapse, but wants Jacobs Engineering Group and Progressive Contractors Inc to reimburse the money, saying they contributed to the collapse. It also has sued consultant URS which studied and inspected the bridge before it failed.

Attorneys for Jacobs Engineering Group and Progressive Contractors said they should not have to reimburse money the state paid to satisfy its own liability.

An investigation identified a problem in the bridge design and the weight of construction materials piled on the bridge as key factors in its collapse.

At the time PCI was repaving the bridge when it fell. The original bridge designer, Sverdrup & Parcel, is now owned by Jacobs.

Hennepin County Judge Deborah Hedlund has been called to dismiss the state’s claims and allow Jacobs to be legally immune because design work on the bridge took place more than four decades before it got involved in the project.

PCI attorney Ted Roberts added: “The Legislature has already made decisions that in any other situation would have been decided by a judge.”

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