TRUCK STOP: THROGS NECK BANS SOME BIG RIGS

ALBANY – In the wake of last week’s Minneapolis bridge collapse, state officials yesterday announced that oversized rigs will no longer be allowed on the Throgs Neck Bridge at all hours.

A routine biannual inspection that began prior to the Minnesota disaster found areas that were showing “advanced wear and tear,” said Spitzer administration spokeswoman Jennifer Givner.

MTA Executive Director Elliott Sander said, “Let me emphasize that the Throgs Neck Bridge is safe to the motoring public.”

Five people were killed in the Minneapolis disaster, and eight remain missing.

Meanwhile, investigators yesterday said they found a possible design flaw involving the Minnesota bridge’s “gusset plates,” which connect the angular steel girders.

They were specifically looking at stress that ongoing roadwork put on the plates, along with the material used in constructing the plates.

Gusset plates are found in many bridges – including the Throgs Neck, Henry Hudson and Manhattan Bridges here. But there was no indication those bridges are at risk.

To ease the Throgs Neck’s deterioration, the state is rescinding a two-year program that allowed certain trucks weighing 105,000 pounds to travel on the center lanes at 30 mph at any time of day, Sander said.

Those trucks must now either reduce their loads to the legal bridge weight limit of 80,000 pounds or apply for a special permit to travel on the bridge at night with an escort.

One state official said fewer than 100 trucks will be affected.

Meanwhile, Gov. Spitzer announced that a preliminary review of the most recent inspection reports of 49 bridges in the state that are of similar design to the collapsed Minnesota bridge found that none is in immediate jeopardy.

But Spitzer said the bridges will be reinspected to ensure their safety.

kenneth.lovett@nypost.com

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