Officials investigating the deadly Minneapolis bridge collapse are looking at an unlikely culprit: pigeons.

pigeons collapse bridge ?Of all the possible causes of the deadly collapse of Minnesota’s Interstate 35W bridge earlier this month– uneven traffic patterns, de-icing salts, faulty construction–the latest is the most surprising: Pigeons. Or more precisely, the waste the birds leave behind. “Pigeon dung can be a serious issue–it’s acidic and will easily eat away almost any metal,” explains engineer William Schutt, president of Matcor, a corrosion protection firm in Doylestown, Pa. “It can wash into and then rust the bolts and rivets of bridges if they’re not cleaned and checked properly.” The build-up of pigeon excrement on the I-35W bridge was substantial enough to be noted in several Minnesota Department of Transportation inspections over the years, pointing to the steel box sections of the bridge as a popular nesting spot. Those sections are crucial to supporting the structure, and in 1999 bridge workers placed plastic screens over openings in the beams in an effort to repel the birds. But the dung continued to pile up. A 2006 inspection of the bridge still reported “severe pigeon debris” on its steel deck truss. Corrosive pigeon dung also made it hard for bridge inspectors to do their work. Three experts familiar with the I-35W bridge told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that some of the impediments to inspections of the collapsed bridge included piles of pigeon dung, poor lighting, road rage (commuters upset with delays were known to insult inspectors and even occasionally throw objects at them) and spider webs that could resemble metal cracks.

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Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions.

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