N E W S R E L E A S E
July 13, 2012
Matt Hemmila, P.E., Bridge Engineer
St. Louis County Public Works
Hibbing, MN (218) 262-0153
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Suspected Arson Fire Forces Closure of Bridge on
Saari Road over the Pike River
The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia is investigating an apparent arson that destroyed a wooden bridge over the Pike River on the Saari Road (County Road no. 367). The bridge is located in Pike Township fifteen miles north of the city of Virginia on a very low traffic volume road.
The St. Louis County Public Works Department is currently evaluating options for the bridge, but compared to the nine other flood related road closures, this bridge is a lower priority. Easy roadway access for residents is still available from either side of the bridge from TH 135 or CSAH No. 21. The bridge was 152 feet long, which makes the replacement costs very high, approaching more than three quarters of a million dollars. At a minimum, the bridge will be closed for a year, although one of the options is permanent closure. This will be evaluated against the county’s bridge closure policy, as with all other structures, and a determination will be made with appropriate public input.
Officers investigating the blaze found traces of accelerant at the origin of the fire. The cause is currently under investigation, and anyone with information about the fire, or who might be responsible, is encouraged to call 911.
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