I-35W Mississippi River bridge (officially known
as Bridge 9340) was an eight-lane, steel truss arch bridge that carried Interstate 35W across the
Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United
The bridge is noteworthy because of its
evening rush hour
on August 1, 2007. It
collapsed into the river and onto the riverbanks beneath, killing
thirteen people and injuring 145. The bridge was Minnesota's fifth
busiest, carrying 140,000 vehicles daily. The NTSB
cited a design
flaw as the likely cause of the collapse, and asserted that
additional weight on the bridge at the time of the collapse
contributed to the failure.
Immediately after the collapse, help came
from mutual aid in
the seven-county Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area
and emergency response personnel, charities, and volunteers.
City and county employees managed the rescue using post-9/11
techniques and technology that may
have saved lives. Within a few days of the collapse, the
Minnesota Department of Transportation planned a replacement
bridge, the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls
Construction was completed rapidly and it
opened on September 18, 2008.
Location and site history
Bridge location in red
Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota's largest city, the bridge
connected the Minneapolis neighborhoods of Downtown East
. The south abutment was
northeast of the Metrodome, and the north abutment was northwest of the
Minnesota East Bank campus.
The bridge was the
southeastern boundary of the "Mississippi Mile" downtown riverfront
is the 10th Avenue
Bridge, once known as the Cedar Avenue Bridge.
Immediately upstream is the lock and dam at
Falls, where Minneapolis began. The first bridge
upstream is the historic
Bridge, built for the Great Northern Railway and now
used for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
The north foundation pier of the bridge was near a hydroelectric
plant, razed in 1988. The south abutment was in an area polluted by
processing plant and a
facility for storing and processing petroleum products. These uses
effectively created a toxic waste site under the bridge, leading to
a lawsuit and the removal of the contaminated soil. No relationship
between these prior uses and the bridge failure has been
Design and construction
The bridge, officially designated Bridge 9340', was
designed by Sverdrup &
Parcel to 1961 AASHO (American Association of State Highway
AASHTO) standard specifications. The
construction contracts, worth in total more than US$5.2 million at
the time, went to Hurcon Inc. and Industrial Construction Company,
which built the steel trusses and deck.
Construction began in 1964 and the bridge opened to
traffic in 1967.
The bridge's fourteen spans extended 1,907 feet (580 m)
long. The three main spans were of deck
construction while all but two of the eleven approach
spans were steel multi-girder
construction, the two exceptions being concrete slab
construction. The piers
were not built in the navigation
channel; instead, the center span of the bridge consisted of a
single 458-foot (140 m) steel arched truss over the 390-foot
(119 m) channel. The two support piers for the main trusses,
each with two load-bearing concrete pylons at either side of the
center main span, were located on opposite banks of the river. The
center span was connected to the north and south approaches by
shorter spans formed by the same main trusses. Each was
266 feet (81 m) in length, and was connected to the
approach spans by a 38 foot (11.6 m) cantilever
. The two main trusses, one on either
side, ranged in depth from 60 feet (18.3 m) above their
pier and concrete pylon supports, to 36 feet (11 m) at
midspan on the central span and 30 feet (9 m) deep at the
outer ends of the adjoining spans. At the top of the main trusses
were the deck trusses, 12 feet (3.6 m) in depth and
integral with the main trusses. The transverse deck beams, part of
the deck truss, rested on top of the main trusses. These deck beams
supported longitudinal deck stringers 27 inches (69 cm)
in depth, and reinforced-concrete pavement. The deck was
113 ft 4 in (34.5 m) in breadth and was split
longitudinally. It had transverse expansion joints at the centers
and ends of each of the three main spans. The roadway deck was
approximately 115 feet (35 m) above the water
Construction on the bridge began in 1964 and
the structure was completed in 1967 during an era of large-scale
projects related to building the Twin Cities freeway system.
When the bridge fell, it was
still the most recent river crossing built on a new site in
Minneapolis. After the building boom ebbed during the 1970s,
infrastructure management shifted toward inspection and
February and in December 1996, the bridge was identified as the
single most treacherous cold-weather spot in the Twin
Cities freeway system, because of the almost frictionless
thin layer of black ice that regularly
formed when temperatures dropped to 30s Fahrenheit (4 °C to -1 °C)
The bridge's proximity to Saint Anthony Falls
contributed significantly to the icing problem and the site was
noted for frequent spinouts and collisions. By January 1999, Mn/DOT
began testing magnesium chloride
solutions and a mixture of magnesium chloride and a corn-processing
byproduct to see whether either would reduce the black ice that
appeared on the bridge during the winter months. In October 1999,
the state embedded temperature-activated nozzles in the bridge deck
to spray the bridge with potassium
solution to keep the area free of winter black ice. The
system came into operation in 2000. It has been raised as a
possibility that the potassium acetate may have contributed to the
collapse of the 35W bridge.
Maintenance and inspection
Since 1993, the bridge was inspected annually by Mn/DOT, although
no inspection report was completed in 2007, due to the construction
work. In the years prior to the collapse, several reports cited
problems with the bridge structure. In 1990, the federal government
gave the I-35W bridge a rating of "structurally deficient," citing
significant corrosion in its bearings. Approximately 75,000 other
U.S. bridges had this classification in 2007.
to a 2001 study by the civil engineering department of the University of
Minnesota, cracking had been previously discovered in the
cross girders at the end of the approach spans.
trusses connected to these cross girders and resistance to motion
at the connection point bearings was leading to unanticipated
out-of-plane distortion of the cross girders and subsequent stress
cracking. The situation was addressed prior to the study by
drilling the cracks to prevent further propagation and adding
support struts to the cross girder to prevent further distortion.
The report also noted a concern about lack of redundancy in the
system, which meant the bridge had
a greater risk of collapse in the event of any single structural
failure. Although the report concluded that the bridge should not
have any problems with fatigue
in the foreseeable future, the bridge instrumentation
by strain gages and continuous structural health monitoring
had been suggested.
The bridge seen from below in
In 2005, the bridge was again rated as "structurally deficient" and
in possible need of replacement, according to the U.S. Department of
database. Problems were noted in two
subsequent inspection reports. The inspection carried out June 15,
2006 found problems of cracking and fatigue. On August 2, 2007,
stated that the
bridge was scheduled to be replaced in 2020.
The I-35W bridge ranked near the bottom of federal inspection
ratings nationwide. The scale used was a "sufficiency rating" which
ranges from the highest score, 100, to the lowest score, zero. In
2005 the bridge was given a rating of 50, indicating that
replacement may have been in order. Out of over 100,000 heavily
used bridges, only about 4% scored below 50. On a separate measure,
the I-35W bridge was rated "structurally deficient," but was deemed
to have met "minimum tolerable limits to be left in place as it
In December 2006, a steel reinforcement project was planned for the
bridge. However, the project was canceled in January 2007 in favor
of periodic safety inspections, after it was revealed that drilling
for the retrofitting would in fact weaken the bridge. In internal
Mn/DOT documents, bridge officials talked about the possibility of
the bridge collapsing and worried that it might have to be
The construction taking place in the weeks prior to the collapse
included joint work and replacing lighting, concrete and guard rails
. At the time of the collapse, four of
the eight lanes were closed for resurfacing, and there were 575,000
pounds (261,000 kg) of construction supplies and equipment on
At 6:05 p.m. CDT
on Wednesday, August 1, 2007, with rush
bridge traffic moving slowly through the limited number of
lanes, the central span of the bridge suddenly gave way, followed
by the adjoining spans. The structure and deck collapsed into the
river and onto the riverbanks below, the south part toppling
81 feet (25 m) eastward in the process. Approximately 100
vehicles were involved, sending their occupants and 18 construction
workers up to 115 feet (35 m) down to the river or onto
its banks. Northern sections fell into a rail
, landing on three unoccupied and stationary freight train
Sequential images of the collapse were taken
by an outdoor security
camera located at the parking lot entrance of the control
facility for the Lower Saint Anthony Falls Lock and Dam.
The immediate aftermath of the
collapse was also captured by a Mn/DOT traffic camera
that was facing away from the
bridge during the collapse itself.
Mayor R.T. Rybak
and Governor Tim
declared a state of
for the city of Minneapolis and for the state of
Minnesota on August 2, 2007. Rybak's declaration was approved and
extended indefinitely by the Minneapolis City Council
day. As of the morning following the collapse, according to
White House Press
Secretary Tony Snow
, Minnesota had not
requested a federal disaster declaration. President Bush pledged
support during a visit to the site on August 4 with Minnesota
elected officials and announced that United States
Secretary of Transportation
(USDOT) Mary Peters
would lead the
rebuilding effort. Rybak and Pawlenty gave the president detailed
requests for aid during a closed-door meeting. Local authorities
were assisted by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) evidence team, and by United States Navy divers who began
arriving on August 5, 2007.
Only a few of the vehicles were submerged, but many people were
stranded on the collapsed sections of the bridge. Several involved
vehicles caught fire, including a semi-truck
, from which its driver's body was
later pulled. When fire crews arrived they had to route hoses from
several blocks away.
A school bus
carrying 60 children ended
up resting precariously against the guardrail of the collapsed
structure, near the burning semi-trailer truck. The children were
returning from a field trip
to a water park
as part of the Waite House
Neighborhood Center Day Camp based out of the Phillips community
. Jeremy Hernandez,
a 20-year-old staff member on the bus, assisted many of the
children by kicking out the rear emergency exit and escorting or
carrying them to safety. One youth worker was severely injured and
ten of the children had minor injuries.
Thirteen people, eight males and five females, were killed.
a cross-section of ages and ethnicities, including a Somali immigrant and her two-year-old child,
an immigrant from Mexico, a Ho-Chunk Native American, a young man with Down Syndrome and his mother, a construction
worker, and other Minnesota residents.
Triage centers at the
ends of the bridge routed 50 victims to area hospitals, some in
trucks, as ambulances were in short supply. Many of the injured had
blunt trauma injuries. Those near the south end were taken to
County Medical Center (HCMC)—those near the north end, to the Fairview-University Medical
Center and other hospitals.
At least 22 children were
injured. Thirteen children were treated at Children's
Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, five at HCMC and four or
five at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale,
During the first 40 hours, 11 area
hospitals treated 98 victims. and
1,400 people gathered for an interfaith
service of healing held at St. Mark's Episcopal
Cathedral on August 5, 2007 when many of the victims were
Among the presenters were representatives of
the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Native American, and
Hispanic communities, police, fire and emergency responders, the
governor, the mayor, a choir and several musicians. Minnesotans
held a minute of silence during National Night Out
, on August 7, 2007 at
6:05 pm. On August 8, 2007, the Twin Cities chapter of the American
Red Cross lowered the flags
of the United
States, the state of Minnesota and the American Red Cross in
remembrance of the victims of the tragedy. Gold Medal Park near the Guthrie
Theater was a gathering place for those who wished to leave
flowers or remembrances for those who died.
address to the city council on August 15, 2007, Rybak remembered
each of the victims and "the details of their lives."
The families of the deceased, the survivors, and the first
responders who were directly impacted by the bridge
collapse—together estimated to be at least several hundred
people—did not have United States disaster assistance for
individuals. Sandy Vargas, president and CEO of the Minneapolis
Foundation, one of seven foundations that form Minnesota
, believes the Minnesota Helps Bridge Disaster
cannot cover the uninsured medical costs for the victims
of the bridge collapse. The fund may be able to make small grants
as a gesture of acknowledgment.
Pawlenty and his office, during the last week of November,
announced a "$1 million plan" for the victims. State law has limits
that may limit awards to below that amount. No legislative action
was needed for this step. "The administration wanted approval from
the Joint House-Senate Subcommittee on Claims as a sign of
bipartisan support" which it received.On May 2, 2008 the state of
Minnesota reached a $38 million agreement to compensate victims of
the bridge collapse.
Civilians immediately took part in the rescue efforts. Minneapolis
and Hennepin County received mutual aid from neighboring cities and
counties throughout the metropolitan area. Emergency personnel
arrived in six minutes and responded quickly, helping people who
were trapped in their vehicles. They worked in their rescue efforts
through the night, but by
the next morning, they had shifted their focus to the recovery of
bodies, with several vehicles known to be trapped under the debris
and several people still unaccounted for. Twenty divers organized
by the Hennepin County
(HCSO) used side-scan sonar
to locate vehicles submerged in the murky water.
Their efforts were hampered by debris and challenging currents.
United States Army
Corps of Engineers (USACE) lowered the river level by two feet
(60 cm) downriver at Ford
Dam to allow easier access to vehicles in the
The Minneapolis Fire
(MFD) created the National Incident Management
command center in the parking lot of the American Red Cross
and an adjacent
printing company on the west bank. The Minneapolis Police Department
(MPD) secured the area, MFD managed the ground operations, and HCSO
was in charge of the water operation. and The city provided 75
firefighters and 75 law enforcement units.
Rescue of victims stranded on the bridge was complete in three
hours. "We had a state bridge, in a county river, between two banks
of a city. ... But we didn't have one problem with any of these
issues, because we knew who was in charge of the assets," said
Rocco Forte, city Emergency Preparedness Director. City,
metropolitan area, county and state employees at all levels knew
their roles and had practiced them since the city received FEMA
management training the year following 9/11. Their rapid response
time is also credited to the Minnesota and United States Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) investment in 800 MHz mobile radio
communications that was operating in Minneapolis and three of the
responding counties, the city of Minneapolis collapsed-structures
rescue and dive team, and the Emergency Operations Center
established at 6:20 p.m. in Minneapolis City Hall.
Recovery of victims took over three weeks. At the request of USDOT,
the Navy sent 17 divers and a five-person command and control
element from their Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 (TWO).
Divers and Underwater Search Evidence Response Team from the FBI
joined the response efforts on August 7, bringing with them
"truck-loads" of specialized equipment including FBI-provided
and two submarines.
Not waiting for daybreak, the Navy team was in the water at 2 a.m.
The FBI teams had planned to search with an unmanned submarine, but
had to abandon this plan after it was found to be too big to
maneuver in the debris field and cloudy water. Minneapolis Police
Captain Mike Martin stated that "The public safety divers are
trained up to a level where they can kind of pick the low-hanging
fruit. They can do the stuff that's easy. The bodies that are in
the areas where they can sweep shore to shore, the vehicles that
they can get into and search that weren't crushed. They were able
to remove some of those. Now what we're looking at is the vehicles
that are under the bridge deck and the structural pieces."
Seventy-five local, state and federal
agencies were involved in the rescue and recovery including
emergency personnel and volunteers from the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Olmsted, Ramsey, Scott, Washington, Winona, Wright, St. Croix County, Wisconsin, St. Croix
EMS & Rescue Dive Team, and others standing by.
assistance came from the United
States Department of Defense, DHS, USACE and the United States Coast Guard.
Divers of Minot, North
Dakota is a private firm who assisted local
Local businesses donated wireless Internet, ice, drinks and meals
for first responders.The Salvation
canteens served food and water to rescue workers. The
provided chaplains. A Mayo Clinic transport helicopter was standing by at Flying Cloud
The Minnesota National Guard
and had up to
10,000 guard members ready to help.
As of August 8, 2007, more than 500 Red Cross volunteers and staff
persons counseled 2,000 people with grief, trauma, missing persons,
and medical issues, and served 7,000 meals to first responders.
Donations totalling US$138,368 and received during the catastrophe
covered the cost of Red Cross services but about $65,000 in
unexpected expenses were not covered.
the initial rescue, Mn/DOT retained Carl Bolander & Sons, an
earthworks and demolition contractor of Saint Paul,
Minnesota to remove the collapsed bridge and demolish the
remaining spans that did not fall.
Divers left the water
briefly on August 18 while the company's crew used crane
, excavation drills and cutting torches
to remove parts of the bridge deck, beams and girders hoping to
improve access for the divers. After the last person's remains were
pulled from the wreckage on August 21, the company's crews began
dismantling the bridge's remnants. Crews first removed the vehicles
stranded on the bridge. By August 18, 80 of the 88 stranded cars
and trucks had been moved to the MPD impound lot where owners could
claim their vehicles. Then workers shifted to removing the bridge
deck using cranes and excavators
with hoe rams
to break the concrete.
Structural steel was then disassembled by cranes, and the concrete
piers were removed by excavators. NTSB
officials asked demolition crews to use extreme care in removing
the bridge remnants to preserve as much of the bridge materials as
possible. By the end of October 2007, the demolition operation was
substantially complete, enabling construction to begin on the new
I-35W bridge on November 1, 2007. Much of the bridge debris is being
temporarily stored at the nearby Bohemian Flats as part of the ongoing investigation of the
collapse. Federal officials plan to bring some of the
bridge steel and concrete to the NTSB Material Laboratory in
D.C. for analysis into determining the cause of the
collapse on behalf of FHWA, Mn/DOT and Progressive Construction,
NTSB also interviewed eyewitnesses.
Peters announced that USDOT had granted Minnesota US$5 million the
day following the collapse. On August 10, Peters announced an
additional US$5 million "for Minneapolis", or "the state", "to
reimburse Minneapolis for increased transit operations to serve
commuters in the wake of last week’s bridge collapse". U.S. Congress
removed the US$100 million
per-incident cap on emergency appropriations. The United States House of
each voted unanimously for US$250 million in
emergency funding for Minnesota that President Bush signed into law
on August 6. On August 10, 2007 Peters announced US$50 million in
immediate emergency relief. The
clarified that the US$50 million was a
downpayment on the US$250 million that has yet to be approved by
appropriations committees. Minnesota could use the immediate relief
for "clean-up and recovery work, including clearing debris and
re-routing traffic, as well as for design work on a new bridge".
"On behalf of Minnesota, we are grateful for all of this help,"
Transportation Safety Board
immediately began a comprehensive
investigation, which was expected to take up to eighteen months to
complete. Immediately following the collapse Governor Tim Pawlenty
and MnDOT announced that the Illinois-based engineering firm of
Elstner Associates, Inc.
had also been selected to provide
essential analysis that would parallel the investigation being
conducted by the National Transportation
. One week after the collapse, debris and vehicles
were just beginning to be moved to further the process of
recovering victims. Cameras and motion detectors were added to the
site around the bridge to ward off intruders, whom officials said
were hindering the investigation. Hennepin County Sheriff Richard W. Stanek
stated, "We are treating
this as a crime scene
at this point.
There's no indication there was any foul play involved, [but] it's
a crime scene until we can determine what was the cause of the
An employee of the NTSB had written his doctoral thesis on possible
failure scenarios of this specific bridge while he was a student at
the nearby University of Minnesota. That thesis, including his
computer model of the bridge for failure mode analysis
used by the NTSB to aid in their investigation. The Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) built a computer model of the bridge at
the Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean,
NTSB investigators were particularly
interested in learning why a part of the bridge's southern end
shifted eastward as it collapsed, but soon ruled that out as a
starting point, and shifted focus to the north end of the
Officials with DHS said there was no indication that terrorism
was involved. Although officials
emphasized that the cause of the collapse had not yet been
determined, Peters cautioned states to "remain mindful of the extra
weight construction projects place on bridges." Within days, bridge
inspections were stepped up throughout the United States.
This image, from the National
Transportation Safety Board's Office of Research and Engineering,
shows a fracture in a gusset plate that played a key role in the
collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge.
(National Transportation Safety Board photo)
FHWA advised states to inspect the 700 U.S. bridges of similar
construction after a possible design flaw in the bridge was
discovered, related to large steel sheets called gusset plates
which were used to connect
together in the truss structure.
Officials expressed concern about many other bridges in the United
States sharing the same design and raised questions as to why such
a flaw would not have been discovered in over 40 years of
inspections. This flaw was first discovered by Wiss, Janney, Elstner
, an independent consulting firm hired by MnDOT
to investigate the cause of the collapse.
On January 15, 2008 the National Transportation Safety Board
announced they had determined that the bridge's design specified
steel gusset plates that were undersized and inadequate to support
the intended load of the bridge, a load which had increased over
time. This assertion was made based on an interim report which
calculated the Demand to Capacity ratio for the gusset plates. The
NTSB recommended that similar bridge designs be reviewed for this
"Although the Board's investigation is still on-going
and no determination of probable cause has been reached, interim
findings in the investigation have revealed a safety issue that
warrants attention," said NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker. "During
the wreckage recovery, investigators discovered that gusset plates
at eight different joint locations in the main center span were
fractured. The Board, with assistance from the FHWA, conducted a
thorough review of the design of the bridge, with an emphasis on
the design of the gusset plates. This review discovered that the
original design process of the I-35W bridge led to a serious error
in sizing some of the gusset plates in the main
On March 17, 2008, the NTSB announced an update on the
investigation. The announcement gave updates in the areas of load
capacity, design issues, computer analysis and modeling, digital
image analysis, and analysis of the undersized and corroded gusset
plates. The investigation revealed that photos from a June 2003
inspection of the bridge showed gusset plate bowing.
On November 13, 2008, the NTSB released the findings of its
investigation. The primary cause was the under-sized gusset plates,
at thick. Contributing to that design or construction error was the
fact that of concrete were added to the road surface over the
years, increasing the dead load
Also contributing was the extraordinary weight of construction
equipment and material resting on the bridge just above its weakest
point at the time of the collapse. That load was estimated at
consisting of sand, water, and vehicles. The NTSB determined that
corrosion was not a significant factor, but that inspectors did not
routinely check that safety features were functional.
Effect of collapse on business, traffic, and transportation
The collapse of the bridge affected river, rail, road, bicycle and
pedestrian, and air transit. Pool 1, created by Ford Dam, was closed to river
navigation between mile markers 847 and 854.5.
A rail spur
switched by the Minnesota
was blocked by the collapse. The Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway
as well as two roads, West River Parkway and 2nd Street SE. The
10th Avenue Bridge, which parallels this bridge about a block
downstream, was closed to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic until
August 31. The Federal
restricted pilots in the radius of the
rescue and recovery.
Thirty-five people lost their jobs when
Aggregate Industries of Leicestershire, UK, a company that delivered construction
materials by barge, cut production in the area.
Day of the collapse
Small businesses in metropolitan area counties that were harmed by
the bridge collapse could apply beginning August 27, 2007 for loans
of up to US$1.5 million at 4% interest over up to 30 years from the
U.S. Small Business
. The agency's disaster declaration for Hennepin
and contiguous counties came two days after Pawlenty's request to
the SBA on August 20, 2007. Open for business and unsure they could
repay loans, owners near the collapse in some cases lost 25% or 50%
of their income. Large retailers in a mall of chain stores lost
about the same. As of early January 2008, at least one business
closed, one announced it was closing, seven of eight SBA
applications had not been approved and merchants continued to
explain how they are unable to shoulder more debt.
Seventy percent of the traffic served by the bridge was
downtown-bound. Mn/DOT published detour information, and made
real-time traffic information available for callers to 5-1-1
. The designated alternate route in the area was
Trunk Highway 280
was converted to a temporary freeway
closed. Other traffic was diverted to Interstates 694, 494, and
The number of
lanes was increased on several of the highways by repainting
traffic lines to eliminate wide shoulders, and by widening various
Extra Metro Transit
were added from park-and-ride
locations in the northern suburbs during the rush hours. Abandoned
vehicles on I-35W and 280 were towed immediately. On August 6,
I-35W was opened to local traffic at the access ramps on each side
of the missing section; some on-ramps remained closed.
In the aftermath, pressure was exerted on the state legislature to
increase the state fuel tax
adequate maintenance funding for Mn/DOT. Ultimately the tax was
increased by $0.055 per gallon via an override of Governor
Pawlenty's veto of the legislation.
Public events and media
Minnesota Twins chose to play their
home game as scheduled, against the Kansas City Royals at the Hubert
H. Humphrey Metrodome just west of I-35W, on the evening of the
Public safety officials told the team that
postponing the game could hamper rescue and recovery efforts, since
a postponement would send up to 25,000 people back into traffic
only blocks from the collapsed bridge. Before the game, a moment of silence
was held for the victims
of the collapse. The Twins did postpone their August 2 game
as well as the traditional groundbreaking ceremonies for their forthcoming stadium also located in downtown Minneapolis.
The disaster site was used as a
backdrop by many TV crews.
The collapse was of interest to national and international news
organizations. On the evening of the collapse, CNN, MSNBC,
and Fox News Channel stayed live with its coverage during the
overnight hours, along with local stations WCCO-AM (830) and KSTP (1500),
with most of the coverage in the opening hours coming via satellite
from Twin Cities news operations WCCO-TV, KSTP-TV, KMSP-TV, KARE-TV and Minnesota
National TV networks sent CBS
anchor Katie Couric
and Matt Lauer
's Soledad O'Brien
, and Fox News
' Greta Van
and Shepard Smith
broadcast from the Twin Cities.U.S. news organizations interested
in national and local bridge safety made a record number of
requests for bridge information from Investigative Reporters and
Editors, an organization which maintains several databases of
federal information. News media made more inquiries for National
Bridge Inventory data in the first 24 hours after the Minneapolis
bridge collapse than for any previous data in the past 20
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted on August 7, 2007
to request that Pawlenty petition President Bush to declare the
city of Minneapolis and Hennepin County a major disaster area.
About two weeks later, Pawlenty requested major disaster
designation on August 20. In a subsequent press release for a
separate disaster declaration that month, he said, "Ordinarily,
preliminary damage assessments are completed before the emergency
disaster declaration is requested." During a press conference and
briefing with Bush at the Minneapolis/St.Paul Air Reserve Station
base for the 934th Airlift Wing
on Tuesday, August 21, Pawlenty estimated the total cost of
emergency response at over US$8 million including Hennepin County's
cost at US$7.3 million for rescue and recovery and US$1.2 million
for other state agencies. He estimated the cost of the collapse to
the state at US$400,000 to US$1 million per day.
That day, Bush gave an emergency rather than major disaster
declaration for the state of Minnesota, allowing local and state
agencies to recover costs incurred August 1 to August 15 from
. FEMA can
provide payment as required for emergency protective measures (part
of FEMA Category B) at no less than 75% federal funding to Hennepin
County, the designated county, up to the initial limit of US$5
million. Pawlenty planned to ask that the date restriction and
monetary cap be lifted. FEMA aid can compensate the county for the
saving of lives, protection of public safety and health, and
lessening damage to improved property, but not for the
disaster-related needs of the victims nor for removing debris and
restoration of the bridge and riverfront nor many other categories
A view from under the new bridge
The replacement of the collapsed I-35W Mississippi River bridge
crosses the Mississippi River at the same location as the original
bridge, and carries north-south traffic on Interstate Highway 35W.
It was constructed on an accelerated schedule, because of the
highway's function as a vital link for carrying commuters and
announced on September 19, 2007 that Flatiron Constructors and
Manson Construction Company would build the replacement
bridge for USD $234
The I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge was opened to the public on
September 18, 2008 at 5 a.m.
- Index map for Mn/DOT's 2006 traffic volumes; relevant maps
showing the highest river bridge traffic volumes are Maps 2E, 3E,
- Flanagan, Barbara. "Sheba the donkey is off Nicollet Island,
but on pictorial map of it"], Star Tribune, August 26, 1988,
Section:News; page 3B
- Meersman, Tom. (April 28, 1993) Star Tribune Citizens board OKs NSP
plan to burn tainted soil. Section News; Page 5B.
- Rebuffoni, Dean. (December 16, 1991) Star Tribune Old plant
site spawns environmental, legal mess. Now the questions is: Who
will pay for riverfront cleanup? Section: news; Page 1B.
- Meersman, Tom. (March 23, 1993) Star Tribune Minnegasco has a legacy
of waste — to burn. Section: News; Page 1B.
- Kane, Lucile M. (1966, revised 1987). The Falls of St. Anthony:
The Waterfall That Built Minneapolis. Saint Paul,
- Meersman, Tom. (July 7, 1993) Star Tribune Minnegasco starts cleaning up
riverside waste today. Section news; Page 3B.
- Meersman, Tom. (March 21, 1996) Star Tribune The environment. Digging
up a new riverside. Minnegasco's cleanup of contaminants along the
Mississippi will clear the way for a north-south parkway link.
Section: news; Page 3B.
- Ison, Chris. (March 21, 1999) Star Tribune New pollution-agency chief was
at center of cleanup flap. Section news; Page 1B.
- . These contract plans contain dimensions and elevations at
Figures 1.1 and 1.2.
- Sheets 1 and 86 of these plans (pp. 2 and 87of the .pdf) show a
finished grade profile at an elevation of approximately
840 feet (256 m) over the main span, which is
115 feet (35 m) over the pool elevation of 725 feet
(221 m). This is consistent with a later inspection report,
Bridge Inspection Report Bridge No. 9340,
published online by Minnesota Department of Transportation in 2007.
The Road Inventory Bridge Sheet (p. 4) shows a height of
132 feet (40 m) from river bottom to superstructure and a
river depth of 15 feet (5 m), correlating to a height of
117 feet (36 m) over the water.
- Politics and Freeways: Building the Twin Cities
Interstate System Patricia Cavanaugh University of Minnesota, pp. 1–2,
- Since then however several older bridges have been
- Learning from bridge failure: Collapses such as the
I-35W in Minneapolis give engineers the best clues about what not
to do. Let's hope the lessons are remembered. by Henry Petroski. LA
Times, op-ed, August 4, 2007.
- Blake, Laurie. (February 3, 1996) Star Tribune February deep freeze. Black ice makes I-35W bridge
treacherous. Section: news; Page 10A.
- von Sternberg, Bob. (December 27, 1996) Star Tribune Minnesota
is one big deep freeze. What is the sound of a cold record
shattering? It's the sound of silence from dead motors, of
crumpling metal on icy roads, of resigned grumbling. But take heart
— it will warm up. Section News; page 1A.
- Blake, Laurie. (January 21, 1999) Star Tribune State hopes to speed up
north-metro lane project. But it clashes with Met Council over
whether addition to interstate should be for car pools.
Section news; Page 2B.
- Blake, Laurie. (October 19, 1999) Star Tribune I-35W bridge getting
de-icer system. Unit will target ice before it can form.
Section news; Page 1A.
- Blake, Laurie. (January 13, 2000) Star Tribune Met Council will survey
our citizens' travel habits. Study will include trip numbers and
times, speed of drivers and waits at ramp meters. Section
news; Page 2B.
- Blake, Laurie. (February 3, 2000) Star Tribune Richfield may face
traffic challenges; How will I-494 accommodate Best Buy's 5,000
commuters? Section news, page 2B.
- Fatigue Evaluation of the Deck Truss of Bridge 9340,
Minnesota Department of Transportation, Report #MN/RC-2001–10,
March 2001, retrieved from Minnesota Local Road Research Board
- Associated Press, Hopes Dim in Minneapolis for
Survivors, August 2, 2007, retrieved August 2, 2007
- RealClearPolitics - Articles - Interview With Minn.
- Fifth Body Recovered After Bridge Collapse, ABC
News, August 3, 2007
- NTSB: Bridge Contractor Had Prior I-35W
Experience, Engineering News Record (enr.construction.com),
8/06/2007, By Tudor Van Hampton
- CNN.com article
- I-35W bridge collapses, Star Tribune, August
- Camera captures bridge moments after collapse August
bridge collapses into river during rush hour in Minneapolis,
Minnesota Star Tribune, August 2, 2007.
- Paul Eickstadt, by Matt Peiken, Minnesota
Public Radio, August 7, 2007
- and linked biographical notes.
- Divers searching for victims in bridge
collapse, Orange County Register, August
- Jeff Horwich, Recovery effort cautious, deliberate,
Minnesota Public Radio, August 2,
2007, Retrieved August 2, 2007
- Navy divers join US bridge effort,
BBC News, Last
Updated: Tuesday, August 7, 2007, 22:01 GMT 23:01 UK
- Feds: Construction Equipment Weight May Be
Aug 8, 2007 11:17 pm US/Central
- and and
- "(Stations: clarifies that the $50 million is downpayment on
$250 million authorized by Congress)" in
- NTSB press conference, August 2, 2007
- Press Advisory
- Old photos show flaws in steel of I-35W bridge
By TONY KENNEDY, Star Tribune, Last update: March 23, 2008 - 1:51
- Coast Guard Responds To Minnesota Interstate Bridge
Collapse, Press Release, United States Coast Guard, August
1, 2007, retrieved August 2, 2007
- Verbal Confirmation of Correct Mile Markers from USCG
Personnel, United States Coast Guard, August
3, 2007, retrieved August 3, 2007
- Amber Dulek, Bridge collapse unlikely to affect river
traffic, Winona Daily News, August 3, 2007,
retrieved August 4, 2007
- Mn/DOT to open I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge to
traffic at 5 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18