Thursday, July 3, 2008

Electric Bridge Land or Land of 10,000 shocks....

On March 30, I wrote about the new pedestrian bridge near the park where I live. It's a great link for people that live on the South side of Maple Grove to get into the park. Well, it's been closed for a couple weeks. I don't need to ride over it, but I ride by it almost every time I go out, and I've noticed that is blocked off and closed. On Tuesday's ride, I was talking to Tom about it and he said it was because of people getting mild shocks as they rode under the power lines, visible in the above photo. The next day, there was an article in the Star-Tribune on it, re-printed below. Several people that I talked to said they would get wierd sensations as they rode over it, or little stinging feelings when they touched their brake levers! Another guy said it was like there were bees in his shorts! Anyway, the article from the newspaper is below:

Shocking new bridge to reopen

Shocked by the new bridge on the Medicine Lake Regional Trail?
Some bikers were, causing the Minnesota Department of Transportation to shut down a bridge leading into Elm Creek Park Reserve over County Road 81 in Maple Grove. The bridge -- which opened last Fall -- was closed on June 16.
According to MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard, nobody on the biker and pedestrian bridge was in danger at any point. He said the shocks were minor and only caused some discomfort. The bridge is expected to re-open next week with additional grounding support to prevent shocks.
Three Rivers Park District spokesman Tom Knisely said his office received three complaints about people getting shocked. The first complaint came in early April, another came in mid-May and by the third complaint in early June, the park system sent a specialist to have a look.
After complaints were confirmed on June 13, the park notified MnDOT and re-routed traffic to a nearby crossing. MnDOT officially closed the bridge three days later.
Barnard said work was done via a partnership between MnDOT, Three Rivers Park District and Xcel Energy. He also said that the bridge and nearby power lines were all built within specifications.
Detour signs are now in place advising trail users to cross at the controlled intersection at Fernbrook Lane.

1 comment:

  1. I can see how the bridge would get charged. I was on it last night, and noticed how close you get to those huge power lines. Almost too close for comfort. Imagine what it would be like on a wet day, when lines like those make quite a noise.