Minneapolis bridge collapse

August 1st, 2007

I’ve spent most of the evening transfixed by CNN’s coverage of the bridge that collapsed late this afternoon.

It was the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River. It’s a 40 year old bridge; it was inspected just three years ago and given a clean bill of health. It was undergoing resurfacing when it collapsed, and only one lane was open each way.

Here is the bridge on Google Maps.

Here is a report from KARE, a Minneapolis TV station.

Here is Wikipedia’s page on the bridge (yes, the bridge has its own Wikipedia page). The page has already been updated with news and images of the collapse.

Here is a good photo of the bridge.

Here is another photo I found using Flickr’s map of geotagged photos.

Here is a post-collapse photo from Wikipedia.

From the New York Times article on the collapse:

An Interstate highway bridge in downtown Minneapolis loaded with rush-hour traffic dropped more than 60 feet into the Mississippi River tonight, sending at least 50 vehicles and passengers into the water below.

Local officials said there were at least three fatalities, and expected the number to increase through the night. One witness told CNN that a policeman said he had seen seven bodies. Dozens of injured drivers and passengers were taken to area hospitals.

The eight-lane Interstate 35 bridge, a major link between Minneapolis and St. Paul, was being repaired at the time, and an eyewitness told MSNBC that he had heard a jackhammer being used on the roadway just before the collapse at about 6 p.m. local time. Witnesses said the bridge, which was built in 1967, collapsed in three sections, sending a plume of smoke 100 feet into the sky.

. . .

“This is a very busy bridge,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, whose home is nearby. “It’s really right in the heart of the city,” Ms. Klobuchar told CNN “Thousands of commuters use this bridge every day.”

Television pictures showed a school bus on one section of the collapsed slab, but the back door was open and no passengers could be seen around the bus. Medical officials said several of the children were taken to area hospitals, some with injuries. A column of smoke curled up from a tractor-trailer near the bus.

Maybe Leigh Ann is not such a wack job for being afraid of bridges.

Update: CNN is talking to a structural engineer. He says he’s puzzled by why the bridge would collapse at both ends rather than at a single point. This guy had inspected and tested the bridge. He says that under full load, the bridge is not overly stressed. He suspects the collapse is related to thermal reasons.

Update: The New York Times has a load of photos online.

3 Responses to “Minneapolis bridge collapse”

  1. Leigh Ann Says:

    Yea… maybe Leigh Ann ISN’T such a wack-job! You and I were just talking about bridge collapses a month ago.

  2. Sue Says:

    Isn’t it possible that 1. it isn’t irrational for Leigh Ann to be afraid of bridges and 2. she’s STILL a wack job.

  3. Jim Says:

    Oh, we KNOW she’s a wack job… just maybe not as much as we used to think!