Stories tagged I-35W

According to this article in the New York Times ("Engineers see Dangers in Aging Infrastructure"), disasters like yesterday's bridge collapse may become more common if we don't find better ways to detect potential problems and invest in maintaining our aging roads, bridges, and other public works...

Later this afternoon, the US Army Corps of Engineers is going to lower the water level of the river by two feet in the area of the bridge collapse.

After the initial investigation is done, the Corps will open the roller gates at the Ford dam (i.e. Lock&Dam #1), dropping the level of the pool and giving emergency workers and investigators better access to the wreckage.

The silver lining of our recent drought is that the Mississippi is flowing at only 15% of normal. That means the river is shallower than it would otherwise be, and the debris in the channel isn't creating a massive dam.


7 dead, 60 injured (as of 1am, Aug 2)

I-35W bridge
I-35W bridge
tangled roadwayAt 6:05 pm, during peak traffic, the 35-W bridge over the Mississippi river collapsed. All eight lanes, all the way across, just dropped straight down into the river along with more than 50 cars, trucks, and even a school bus. How could this happen? Here is what I have found so far.

The I -35W bridge.

What does it look like? How is it made? It was a steel arch deck truss bridge. Its longest span stretched 458 feet between supports. It was built in 1967. (Link to photos and more data about the I-35W bridge.)

What might have gone wrong?

"The state, whoever did the inspection, which was likely to be MnDOT, noticed and observed cracking in the structural steel members, the main girders that hold the bridge up in the air. What it means is that the bridge is no longer going to stay stable," Galarn said.

Link to early video with a safty engineer about what might have went wrong.

How safe are other bridges?

Transportation Commissioner Len Levine who served under Governor Rudy Perpich (said) "between 40 and 50 percent of the 20,000 bridges in Minnesota are deficient in some way."

What is going to happen to traffic?

There will be added bus services from North metro area.
Map of detour routes.(pdf)

Where are photos of this disaster?

KSTP has lots of photos and updates.
Detroit Free Press had 25 photos.
34 photos on Flickr by blogger s4xton Read his story here.

Please use our comments to add updates, photo links, or thoughts.

I could not sleep so I started this after midnight. This story will keep growing so stay tuned and share what you know.