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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

COLLAPSE!

Earlier today, the 35W bridge over the Mississippi River collapse. The bridge has been under construction for re-surfacing for several weeks now. Early reports suggest that current construction was surface-only and not affecting the structural integrity of the bridge.

KMSP-TV (channel 5) reported that a May 2006 inspection identified cracks in bridge superstructure that needed attention.

This collapse occurred around 6:00 PM. As of 8:00 PM a thunderstorm is headed toward the disaster area.

Anywhere from 20-50 cars have been estimated in the water.

Just yesterday, the Pioneer Press reported the nearby Washington Avenue bridge cannot support the weight of a proposed $1 BILLION light rail train. Minnesota recently spent nearly $1 BILLION to build a light rail train between Minneapolis and the airport. Let us hope that construction activity for this 35W bridge was not delayed because funds were diverted to light rail instead.

Keep the prayers coming. As I post this, the rain is falling and rescue conditions just got more dangerous.

UPDATE 8:37

KMSP-TV (channel 9) reported that the aforementioned cracks were "petite" cracks and NOT directly within the main superstructure. Reportedly, had the cracks affected the structural integrity of the bridge, MN-DOT would have closed it.

There will be much speculation about cause. I suspect much of it will be wrong.

UPDATE 8:53

I travel this bridge on my way to work. Fortunately, I worked from home today. Also, fortunately, a co-worker and close friend left work late today – a few minutes after the collapse. Emergency crews passed him up within a few blocks of the bridge.

My workplace is not far from this bridge and many fellow employees who live in the northern suburbs traverse it. There are other bridges in the area and, do to construction, these other bridges may have been the preferred way home.

It is going to take a while to take this all in. Sadly, I expect the death toll to rise. Selfishly, I hope I don't know the names – but, I fear for their families. Many metro residents will have a very long night as they wait to hear from family members.

The rain was short-lived at my home. Hopefully it will be short-lived at the scene as well.

UPDATE 9:00

There was speculation about sabotage. Homeland Security has, for the moment, said it doubts that terrorist activity was at work here. I doubt it also. First, the mere fact that construction was active suggests an unfortunate, possibly related problem. Second, with active construction, the bridge had more activity. I would think that such activity would scare off potential terrorists. Third, construction slows down traffic. From the perspective of terrorists, there are better targets.

KMSP-TV is reporting that operations at the scene are that of a recovery operation and no longer a rescue operation. One reported drowned.

1 Comments:

Anonymous daisy said...

Thank you for your sobering post. May this situation bring out the kinder more peace loving side of all of us.

8/02/2007 11:01 PM  

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