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Breaking: Bridge over Mississippi River Collapses


Fox News is reporting now. The bridge that collapsed was near the University of Minnesota campus. About six cars are in the water, and approximately 20-30 people are hurt

According to a report from WCCO, a school bus filled with children stopped just short of the collapsed section. Thank God the kids were removed from the bus safely.

According to a witness, it collapsed at rush hour when it was filled with cars. I'm sure officials are going to investigate whether this was terrorism related. That's a logical question that has to be examined.

Update: Fox News reports that construction caused a backup, so when the bridge collapsed, the cars that were on it were at a standstill.

Update II: From the AP:

The entire span of the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed about 6:05 p.m. where the freeway crosses the river near University Avenue in Minneapolis.

The entire bridge that was over the water collapsed, both the east and west sides.

Update III: According to the Star Tribune, workers were working on the surface of the bridge, not on the bridge's support system.

Also from the Star Tribune:

Ramon Houge of St. Paul, was on his way home from work at Wells Fargo and was driving on the bridge when heard a rumbling noise, saw the ground collapse and cars go down. He said cars backed up as best they could and he parked in a construction zone and was finally able to turn around and drive off the bridge. "It didn't seem like it was real," he said. Traffic was bumper to bumper and hundreds of people would have been involved, he said, adding that he saw kids on a bus with blood on their faces.

Sarah Fahnhorst, who lives in an apartment a block away from the bridge, heard a huge thud and then "the entire building shook. It shook the ground."

Now a reporter on the scene says that there's a fear that a fourth section on the east bank of the bridge may collapse.

Update IV: Another fire has started, which could cause and explosion and cause more of the bridge to collapse.

Update V: The Department of Homeland Security said that it is monitoring the situation and that this does not appear to be terrorism related.

Update VI: One fatality. Drudge reports that local media is reporting up to 50 injured and 2 dead.

Update VII: John Hinderaker who lives in Minneapolis writes this:

This is a relatively new highway; I think the bridge is around 30 years old. There is construction underway on Highway 35. One hopes that didn't contribute to the disaster. This is certainly not an earthquake zone.

This is the kind of disaster that just doesn't happen in the United States--a bridge spontaneously collapsing, apparently, into a river. It is hard to convey to those who don't live here the astonishment of this sort of catastrophe happening on our most traveled highway.

Update VIII: Captain Ed, who also lives in Minneapolis, is following the story closely and has this:

KSTP reports that the people on the bridge who were uninjured did not run off the bridge -- they went from car to car to look for the injured and give them assistance.


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Comments (27)

Holy crap! My wife and I d... (Below threshold)
No One of Consequence:

Holy crap! My wife and I drive over that bridge almost daily. They've been doing repair work on it for the past few months.

The DUers already have thei... (Below threshold)

The DUers already have their top-notch theories as to what happened.

bushitler didn\'t do enough... (Below threshold)
DU graduate:

bushitler didn\'t do enough to prevent this

Live local coverage here:</... (Below threshold)
Good Lord, even this thread... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

Good Lord, even this thread gets invaded.

Thanks for the link, Jason.

Minorities hardest hit!... (Below threshold)

Minorities hardest hit!

KSTP reports that ... (Below threshold)
KSTP reports that the people on the bridge who were uninjured did not run off the bridge -- they went from car to car to look for the injured and give them assistance.

Everyday heroes. God bless them.

I wonder if the federal gov... (Below threshold)
scrapiron Author Profile Page:

I wonder if the federal government got there fast enough. FOX news let old sheep dog Smith keep reporting. Did he report anyone eating human flesh yet?

How come Reid and Pelosi ha... (Below threshold)

How come Reid and Pelosi havent had all US bridges inspected yet? Theyre too interested in 'evening the score' instead of doing their jobs.

14% approval rating baahh haaahh haahhh.

Everyday heroes. G... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:
Everyday heroes. God bless them.

That's one big reason I went into amateur radio. Amateurs, especially those that belong to ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service, a civilian group) and/or RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, part of the Department of Homeland Security) are an invaluable asset to emergency management, providing communications in the worst of situations. ARES/RACES volunteers (and they are all volunteers) have been a part of just about every disaster or major emergency response since they were formed (ARES in the 1930s, RACES in 1952).

The reason hams can be so much help is that we have radio frequency privileges in pretty much every section of the spectrum that can be used for radio, from microwave to long wavelengths. This makes amateur radios extremely versatile at getting a signal through... our radios aren't limited to just a few frequencies, like most police or fire radios are.

If anyone is interested in learning more, here's some good links:

ARES page at the ARRL website (ARRL is the parent organization of ARES).
Wikipedia article on ARES.
RACES homepage.
Wikipedia article on RACES.

And if you really want to get involved in ham radio and emergency communications, drop me a line through my blog... I will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Even if you're a lefty that I've flamed here, I'll still help you. That's what hams do.

Just found one more good si... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

Just found one more good site for those interested in getting into emergency communications with amateur radio... the appropriately-named Emergency-Radio.org.

Infrastructure of this nati... (Below threshold)

Infrastructure of this nation has bee left to rot for 40 years. The levees in New Orleans break and bridges over the Mississippi River collapse. How many deaths will it take for this nation to wake up to the decay of our infrastructure? Nevermind, what happened with Lindsey Lohan tonight.

How has our infrastructure ... (Below threshold)

How has our infrastructure decayed? this bridge is barely 30+ years old. That is not an old bridge by any stretch. The Mackinac Bridge in Michigan is about 50 years old now and 5 miles long. If the infrastructure were decaying, that bridge would have been gone before this bridge in Minnesota.

Throwing out all this speculation is ridiculous at this point, it's obvious Bush had Cheney and Rove drive up in a motor boat and put bombs on the supports. Bush has been pretty irritable since his colonoscopy don't you know?We need to get the truth out about this! http://www.8-01-07truth.com !!!

In all seriousness, it's nice to see how many people came to the support of the people who needed it instead of standing around like a bunch of gawking tools.

I wonder how long it will take for a senator or congressman to try to blame republicans or Bush on this. I bet it will be some time within the next week or so. If it's not a democrat representative of some sort, i guarantee there will be news stories alluding to the possibility Bush contributed to this, or republicans didn't fund something and thats why the bridge didn't get proper repairs or some such garbage.

Isn't it sad when these are the types of things we expect from liberals at this point? What does it say about the rest of the crap they spew out?

Doing forensic engineering ... (Below threshold)

Doing forensic engineering by internet picture/video is a fools game... but having said that, it looks like the problem was not in the center but on the north side over land.

It looks to me like it collapsed first and the center section pulled north. Notice the clean break on the north side but the "stretched and mangled" wreckage on the south. It sheared and elongated. The center section looks good, it just fell straight down.

(Unless something really freaky happened...) the Center section did not fail.

From the looks of the video, the construction equipment was about 1000 feet to the south.

Also notice (good video here the metal structure was bend grossly to the north. More evidence it fell first.

The next northward footer is in pristine condition so that points to the truss system.

I'd put $50 (not $100) on the truss system on the north side failing and dumping the rest into the river.

But see my first sentence of this comment.

BTW- As far as terrorism, ... (Below threshold)

BTW- As far as terrorism, while I find it highly, highly doubtful, if my hunch is correct it would be marginally more likely as the part that failed was over land. BUT there is no sign of explosion.

There is a zero percent chance it was done by an ANFO bomb, which would probably be the explosive of choice by a terrorist. ANFO leaves a powder all over everything, this was not ANFO. -- If was WAS terrorism, it was very, very sophisticated ... so sophisticated it is doubtful they wold use these technique on such a small target.

If was WAS terrori... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:
If was WAS terrorism, it was very, very sophisticated ... so sophisticated it is doubtful they wold use these technique on such a small target.


Unless it was a test run.

Not saying I think it was, mind you... just sort of playing Devil's Advocate here for a moment.

This was probably one of th... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

This was probably one of the most heavily traveled bridges in the state, with 100,000-200,000 cars crossing it daily. It was built in '67, if that wasn't already mentioned. This will take a long time to recover from. At least there are freeways nearby for detours.

I live and work about 20 miles south of that bridge, and things like this can really focus the mind on the true fragility of life. Please pray, but also give blood if you can. It may not go directly to the effort here, but it will always be worth it to give,

My wife just told me that a... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

My wife just told me that a friend and neighbor of ours who works about 35 miles away on the north side of town, travels that bridge every day at the time it collapsed. Today, however, he left work early to help his grandmother and to watch his son's ballgame. Probably saved his life.

>>This is the kind of disas... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

>>This is the kind of disaster that just doesn't happen in the United States--a bridge spontaneously collapsing, apparently, into a river.


I am surprised at the lack ... (Below threshold)

I am surprised at the lack of memory and parochialism of many people reporting this. In 1983 an I95 bridge over the Mianus river in Connecticut collapsed into the river killing several people. I am saddened that many well educated people think this newest disaster is unique. It isn't.

Doctorj,Possibly t... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:


Possibly the worst failure in NO was a breach in a section that had just been built.

As David has said, it does not have to have been decaying infrastructure.

Robert, You are a... (Below threshold)

You are absolutely right. Let me change my statement. The public engineering in this country has become really shotty and subpar. I am really worried about it. This is not the same country that sent man to the moon. I am not pointing fingers politically. This is a downward spiral that has been happening a longtime.

Hymn of Breaking Strain... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

Hymn of Breaking Strain.

Rudyard Kipling

The careful text books measure
(Let all who build beware!)
The load, the shock, the pressure
Material can bear.
So, when the buckled girder
Lets down the grinding span,
The blame of loss, or murder,
Is laid upon the man.
Not on the Stuff -- the Man!

But in our daily dealing
With stone and steel, we find
The Gods have no such feeling
Of justice toward mankind.
To no set gauge they make us, --
For no laid course prepare --
And presently o'ertake us
With loads we cannot bear.
Too merciless to bear.

The prudent text-books give it
In tables at the end --
The stress that shears a rivet
Or makes a tie-bar bend --
What traffic wrecks macadam --
What concrete should endure --
But we, poor Sons of Adam,
Have no such literature,
To warn us or make sure!

We hold all Earth to plunder --
All Time and Space as well --
Too wonder-stale to wonder
At each new miracle;
Till, in mid-illusion
Of Godhead 'neath our hand,
Falls multiple confusion
On all we did or planned.
The mighty works we planned.

We only of Creation
(Oh, luckier bridge and rail!)
Abide the twin-damnation --
To fail and know we fail.
Yet we -- by which sole token
We know we once were Gods --
Take shame in being broken
However great the odds --
The Burden or the Odds.

Oh, veiled and secret Power
Whose paths we seek in vain,
Be with us in our hour
Of overthrow and pain;
That we -- by which sure token
We know thy ways are true --
In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken,
May rise and build anew.
Stand up and build anew!

As this bridge is within th... (Below threshold)

As this bridge is within the jurisdiction of the state of Minnesota, it was up to state inspectors to check on its safety on a regular basis. The Federal government has its own safety inspections, but the local and state governments bear the brunt of the blame, if it is shown that the bridge was structurally unsound.

IMHO, the construction on the bridge only marginally contributed to the collapse, as resurfacing normally doesn't require changing the supporting structure. This was probably a disaster ready to happen. It just happened to occur that day, and not some other day, month or year.

Here is a good video by a s... (Below threshold)

Here is a good video by a safety engineer.


And then some envrometalist... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

And then some envrometalists wacko will say this is GAIAS REVENGE knowing how wcko they are especialy when we hear new age eco-wacko hollywood star SHARON McCLENDON blabbered this gaia poppycock when that quake hit the L.A. area afew years ago SCREWY ECO-WACKO NUT CASES

Who cares. It's only a stup... (Below threshold)

Who cares. It's only a stupid bridge collapse. More people die in traffic accidents each day.

I'm just surprised it wasn't the terrorists, though I suspect we will later find out it really was.






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