Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The Duluth bound right lane of the Blatnik Bridge will reopen to traffic today after being closed all summer. According to MnDOT officials, the lane will reopen around 6pm tonight. However, work is expected to continue next week with possible temporary lane closures as workers finish up minor projects. All work is expected to be complete next week. This summer's project on the bridge included high-end maintenance work that will extend the life of the bridge. The following work was completed: • The main span truss was sandblasted and repainted in the “splash zone”, which is the area extending from the lowest members to 10-feet above the driving surface. This area is subjected to vehicle spray and road salt and needed to be repainted to protect the steel from corrosion. • The gusset plates on the bridge's main span were repaired and strengthened to improve the load-carrying capacity of the bridge. • The concrete traffic rail on the main span was replaced with a thinner, lighter-weight rail. This reduced the overall weight on the bridge, which increases the load-carrying capacity and provides better access to the steel members behind the rail. This will simplify future maintenance work and allows for more thorough bridge inspections. • The bridge deck expansion joints were replaced. The existing joints were leaking and caused water and salt damage to the structural steel members. • The deteriorating outline-lighting system was removed and replaced with a new, energy-efficient, LED system that will illuminate the center span with a wash of light. The new LED lighting will be lit for the first time on October 25th. Posted to the web by Krista Burns kburns@kbjr.com