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I-35 Bridge Settlement with URS is Another Insult

Category: I-35 Bridge
Posted: 03/20/10 12:08

by Dave Mindeman

It really is an insult.

The State of Minnesota has settled with URS on the I-35 Bridge collapse for the token amount of $5 million.

It is a deal forged by partners in crime.

URS and the State have been playing this public game of "it was your responsibility", yet have gone about business as usual in every other aspect.

Has URS lost any contracts? No. Has the flow of employees back and forth between URS and MnDOT stopped? No. Has anybody, anyone at all, been fired or even seriously reprimanded? No.

There is a very unholy alliance involved here. The $5 million token settlement is an insult to the people whose lives were changed forever on that August day.

It was put well in this quote:

"There's a close relationship between the state and URS, and [the state] didn't want to sue them to start with," said Kyle Hart, an attorney for Progressive Contractors Inc. (PCI), whose workers were atop the bridge for the repaving project when it collapsed and which earlier settled a lawsuit. "They still do business. ... People have moved back and forth between those two entities. They are very close."

Oh, URS will tell us that it has been "proven" that it wasn't their fault. And MnDOT has, on the surface and with their own "internal" investigations, absolved themselves of any negligence. But a lot of that depends on URS and MnDOT sticking together. To back up each other. Or shall we say, cover it up?

The real truth is still buried. And the spade and shovel that will bring it to the surface are the civil lawsuits. They will have to poke and prod and pry their way through it. It will be slow and painstaking, but it is a serious quest for the truth. We will never get it from the stakeholders involved, not a chance.

The taxpayers of Minnesota gave $37 million to the victims of the I-35 Bridge collapse. Even that was probably not enough, but it still said that this tragedy must be addressed. The State has a responsibility to see that they recover as much that money as they can to reimburse that fund and it should come from the responsible parties. This settlement with URS for $5 million is tokenism. It is a sweep under the rug.

In the end, it looks like the state of Minnesota will be paying the largest portion of that $37 million themselves.

And maybe in terms of fault, that is how it should be.
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