Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis Still Unexplained


The death toll is six at the time of this writing with as many 30 more people missing from an interstate bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The final number is likely to grow as divers search for victims in the twisted steel and chunks of concrete that fell into the Mississippi River August 1, 2007.

The eight-lane Interstate 35W bridge was in the midst of repairs, and two lanes in each direction were closed when the bridge buckled during the evening’s rush hour.

More than 75 people were injured and as many as 50 vehicles ended up in the river leaving occupants of those vehicles scrambling for the shore. Some of the injured were carried to the riverbank, and emergency workers tended to the injured on the ground. Some rescue workers jumped in the river to look for survivors.

Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty said the bridge was inspected by the Minnesota Department of Transportation in 2005 and 2006, and, at those times, no structural problems were noted at those inspections. The inspectors did notify the state that from an engineering standpoint, the deck might need to be rehabilitated or replaced in 2002 or beyond.

The 40-year-old bride was rated as “structurally deficient” two years ago and possibly in need of replacement. A spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Transportation noted that many other bridges around the country carry that same designation.

There were 18 construction workers on the bridge at the time of collapse, and at the time of the writing of this article, one of those workers is still unaccounted for.