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m8136 BC-MN-WinonaBridge-Reop 1stLd-Writethru REPEAT 06-14 0235

Winona bridge over Mississippi River reopens

Eds: APNewsNow. Updates with bridge reopening to passenger vehicles. RETRANSMITTING to ADD AP Photo number

AP Photo MNWIN101

WINONA, Minn. (AP) — The Mississippi River bridge in Winona that was closed abruptly because of rust and corrosion has reopened, with restrictions.

A MnDOT spokeswoman says the barricades were removed at 8 a.m. Saturday, and traffic began moving about 10 minutes later.

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For now, only passenger vehicles will be allowed to cross the bridge. Vehicles not allowed on the bridge include single-unit and semitrailer trucks, buses, motor homes, campers and vehicles pulling trailers.

Pedestrians and bicyclists are also restricted from crossing, but a cab service will be available for 75 cents per person each way.

The Highway 43 bridge was temporarily closed 11 days earlier, severing the only link between Minnesota and Wisconsin for miles up and down the river. It led to drastically longer driving times for commuters and worried business owners.

The bridge won’t be replaced any sooner than scheduled. Instead, repair work on 32 gusset plates will begin by midsummer, with the work to be finished by late summer or early fall.

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