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Two statues have debuted on Minnesota's new Interstate 35W Bridge that are shaped to look like the international cartographic symbol for water. Why? Besides mimicking the look of the Mississippi River as it passes through Minneapolis, the new sculptures are made from a type of concrete that is photocatalytic, meaning they will be able to convert gases like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and sulfur dioxide to higher oxidized states, making them less damaging to the environment. Another benefit of the new concrete mixture is that it never looks old as it maintains a white oxidized color on its outer skin.

The opening of the new I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge also has a deeper meaning, since it replaces the one that tragically collapsed about a year ago from a structural failure. The new one was erected so fast because the original was used by over 140,000 cars per day. Despite how quickly it was built, the new bridge has a 100-year life span, supports ten lanes of traffic thanks to an extra 76 feet of width, and has shoulders on both sides where the old one didn't – not to mention it cleans the air with art. Thanks for the tip, Terry!

[Source: KTSP / Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Relax the emission regulations and put up more of these.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Do you know a low cost vet that I can go to? I think my dog might be sick. http://auroracatclinic.com/
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am from St. Paul and I use this bridge all the time..

      This bridge was a waste of taxpayer money.. Letting the first bridge fall down was a waste of taxpayer money..

      It's the damn safest bridge in the country!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't think taxpayer money intentionally made a bridge collapse.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I actually work for the company that makes the photo catalytic cement. Its called TX Active. Its really quite interesting. Take a look at the page for it here - http://www.essroc.com/default.aspx?pageid=216 or just do a search....
        • 6 Years Ago
        very interesting stuff gary. i have a couple of questions about it. first, does it's ability to clean the air run out over time? like it sucks up pollution until the point it becomes saturated or something? or does it work forever? and also, i was wondering if you could give us a ballpark idea of how the price of this stuff compares to standard cement. thanks!
        • 6 Years Ago
        The photocatalytic properties never run out. It will last as long as the concrete itself does. As for pricing, the thing with this stuff is you only use it as a skim coat. The structural part of whatever is built with it can be regular concrete. Then you skim coat the TX Active onto it. The example our company used is that if you were to make the facade of a 5 story building and cover it with TX Active, it would only add about $150 (roughly, they priced it at €100, we're an Italian company). To pave a roadway, it would add 10-20% to the price. So the cost of adding it that sculpture was exceedingly low in the scheme of things.... Again, this PDF will explain it better than I can.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How much did it cost? A lot. But it took LESS THAN A YEAR to build. Our cold Minnesota winter id not stop the construction. It is a beautiful bridge...and the lighting for it, the overhead lights, are LEDs. Very bright and energy efficient.

      But come on Autoblog...this bridge opened more than 1/2 a month ago...
        • 6 Years Ago
        LEDs are less energy efficient than low pressure sodium vapor lamps. And they are far less cost-efficient because LEDs put out so little light you need a ton of them.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If only the world would have had these after those ice ages, then we could have saved the planet from warming due to all those greenhouse gasses that the evil cars and stuff produced.

      Whoops, sorry, didn't mean to spoil anyone's fun.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sounds like a bunch of green BS. If those sculptures only encounter passive airflow, their effect on the environment isn't even news worthy. Not to mention, when they get covered with plain old dirt, any chemical reactions will be even less significant.

      Konrad Jenkins
      • 11 Months Ago
      What an incredible tribute to those that lost their lives in that tragic accident. Not only does it serve as a momento of sorts, it also serves to make the world a better place for everyone. It blows my mind how advanced technology has come, to the point where something as simple as concrete pillars can help keep the air clean. Konrad Jenkins | http://www.iltalaska.com/aboutus.asp
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like em. If we had these everywhere then we wouldnt have those pussy ass priuses hogging the streets.
      • 6 Years Ago
      $234m plus incentives for finishing quickly. Which is good because traffic was pretty dorked up with it out of commission. There is a stiff breeze up the Mississippi most of the time, so the pretty squiggles should not want for schmutz. And I see no reason why a public construction should not look pretty too. (and it is a nice looking bridge, especially underneath)
      • 6 Years Ago
      How much did that thing cost?

      • 6 Years Ago
      It's not the concrete. It's a coating.

      titanium dioxide is 'photocatalytic'. Effectively, just white paint.

      Very gimmicky.
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