• Aug 1st 2007 at 11:35PM
  • 22

Earlier this evening, a bridge that's part of Interstate 35 in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River. In a scene that can only be described as horrific and catastrophic, vehicles and debris plunged into the water below. Additionally, a freight train passing underneath the bridge was struck and essentially cut in two by a falling section. According to authorities in Minnesota, at least 59 people, including 10 children, were injured. Sadly, as of this writing, 7 people have reportedly lost their lives as a result of this tragedy.

The event is being described as a structural failure and not an act of terrorism, an understandable concern at the time it occurred given the scope of the accident. Traffic at the time of the collapse (6:10 PM) was said to be bumper-to-bumper, as there was construction underway and many people were trying to get into downtown Minneapolis for the 7:10 PM Twins game at the Metrodome. Our condolences go to the families and friends of those who lost their lives, and our thoughts and wishes for a speedy recovery go to the injured.

UPDATE: Georges Yared, a contributor at our sister site, BloggingStocks, was in the stands at last night's Twins game. Because his son insisted on getting to the dome early to watch the Twins' BP session, he crossed the bridge a full 35 minutes before the collapse. His post at BloggingStocks provides a firsthand account of what occurred inside Metrodome as the news of the disaster spread.

[Source: MSNBC, Local TV video via YouTube]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Its a shame what happened and my thoughts go out to those who died and also to those injured and their families.

      Based on an eye-witness account I heard last night that the bridge collapsed from south to north, this is my educated (I'm a mechanical/structural eng.) as to what happened:

      The south end of the bridge, where you see the first span fold in on it self in a v shape and the green steel trusses are protruding out over the Mississippi, is where it failed first. As that section shifted upwards, the adjacent span over the river also shifted up, and the connection sheared off.

      The forces acting on the river-span during and after this caused the relatively weak pin joints connecting the truss spans to the concrete support columns failed under lateral and torsional forces, allowing the bridge to topple over into the river. I think the twisted nature of the steel trusses on the north bank show how the bridge kind of twisted over, with the resultant forces bringing down the spans on the north side of the river.

      Either way, its a terrible terrible tragedy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Man and i heard on the news not too long ago about a brige collapse in Quebec... Atleast that bus didn't take a dive.

      I hope they are no firther injuries, and RIP to those who we have lost.

      • 8 Years Ago
      16 years ago a man ran for President.

      He was neither Republican or Democrat.

      One of his strong campaign messages was the fact that the US needed to rebuid it's aging infrastructure.

      As the election was completed, he did not win, but he did manage to acquire 16% of the popular vote.

      His name... Ross Perot.

      • 8 Years Ago
      I thought the 580 Connector in SF/Oakland collapsing was bad, what with the messed up commute...that all seems so trivial now...this is just unreal.

      Condolences to the families
      • 8 Years Ago
      The whole country is behing you guys. Our prayers are with you. BE STRONG AND WELL!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Damn that really, really sucks. Good luck to everyone who is affected by this entire mess.
      • 8 Years Ago
      My best wishes as well.

      I'm a structural engineer in construction and I gotta agree with Mike's assessment, given how little we know so far. I'm just blown away that this would happen... the bridge didn't seem to be that heavily loaded. If indeed we just have bridges ready to collapse, then... oh boy.

      The whole situation with old bridges reminds me of a classic Onion article: "Our Infrastructure Needs a New Coat of Paint!"
      • 8 Years Ago
      This whole event has been absolutely nuts! I live about 2 miles north of this bridge and honestly crossed over it about 30 minutes before it collapsed and normally do so at least 2 times a day.

      The only good thing about this whole tragedy is that it could have been a whole lot worse. Let me explain. A lot of the media is reporting that the bridge is 8 lanes wide (which is correct). However, what they did not explain very well is that the bridge was being resurfaced for the last month and was down to one lane in both directions (two total lanes). The amount of traffic on it was not as bad as it could have been, but definitely say a prayer for the families of the workers who were on the bridge, they are going through hell right now.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Horrible, horrible. I sincerely hope the affected families can cope with this. Everytime I drive down the Halifax bridge I am reminded of this now. And that bridge is way older than the Minneapolis one.
      • 8 Years Ago
      To all affected, best wishes.
      • 8 Years Ago
      My condolences to those poor people. This is a horrific tragedy and even punishment of those at fault, won't undo what happened. Peace be with them.
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