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wolverine

Massive Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis

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Turn on the news. This is absolutely horrible. I've haven't heard if anyone died yet.

I'll post an article when it becomes available.

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I-35W bridge in downtown Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River. The entire interstate I-35W (north and southbound lanes) was on that one bridge, and it collapsed 1 hour ago in the middle of rush hour.

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Foxnews and Fox 9 in Minneapolis are reporting 3 dead now, not sure how this happened, and not sure how many deaths, but unfortunately, I think that toll will rise. This is absolutely awful looking.

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CNN says 7 dead now, there's got to be at least dozens though. It looks pretty bad.

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MNDOT was doing surface rehabilitation work on the bridge at the time and said that they regularly checked the 43 year-old, 2,000-foot structure.

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As soon as I saw this thread, there was breaking news on NBC that mentioned this. This is horrible.

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The bridge was built in 1967 and passed inspections in 2006. Construction workers were doing facade and surface work, but nothing structural.

The bridge was full of cars, bumper to bumper, travelling about 10mph both directions when it collapsed. As some of you know, Minneapolis has become one of the worst congested cities in the country, and all of the metro freeways are over capacity.

A school bus with 60 children inside fell into the river, but all of those children and the driver have been accounted for. I've heard 6 deaths from the mayor of Minneapolis, but over 50 cars are in the river and have not been searched yet.

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Wow. I don't really knwo what to say. My thoughts and prayers are certainly with the people who fell in & their families. I hope the death toll doesn't rise much higher.

I'd be interested to see what caused it to fall in. After all, as other have noted, it passed inspections just last year and the construction work done to it wasn't anything structural.

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NBC Today show is reporting the bridge was found to be structurally deficient by the Federal government when it reviewed the state inspections of 2005 & 2006. They rated the bridge to be at 50% which means it should be considered for replacement. State officials obviously did not have the same conclusion and said the bridge did not need replacement until at least 2020. Amazingly the bridge was undergoing another inspection by state officials for the last two months so one wonders what they were inspecting. It will be interesting to see how they might back peddle out of this given the bridge did fail. In this day and time and given our technology there should be no failures such as this in the USA. (barring accidents or deliberate acts against the bridge)

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I see that the Star Tribune in Minneapolis is reporting 9 dead and 20 missing at this point. The 20 missing number is scary.

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My initial guess of failure was due to distortion and stress in the steel arch from high temperature expansion and weathering..allowing the steel to become detached from the pier connections or something like that. But then I realized that steel typically doesn't fail like that. If a single member were to break, the collapse would be much slower.

I later guessed that it was the piers that were having problems. Last night I saw one of the bridge piers was tipped steeply to one side? Why is this? Even with the weight of the superstructure pulling in one direction, the piers should be strong enough and deep enough to not go full tilt like that. In fact, the steel arch should have simply snapped off leaving the piers damaged, but still vertical. I'm going to speculate and say that the cause of failure had to do with the riverbed or base of the bridge piers. The video somewhat confirms my theory because you will notice, the bridge fails first at the pier, and then buckles at the center of the span. If the arch were to fail, we would have seen gradual displacement of the entire superstructure from pier to pier, but one portion still remained in alignment before it all came down.

But I can't say much. I only calculated forces and failure in steel bridges for a semester, but just a guess.

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I see that the Star Tribune in Minneapolis is reporting 9 dead and 20 missing at this point. The 20 missing number is scary.

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im hearing 30 now. unfortunatly this was rush hour traffic and it looks pretty bad and probabally many more over 7 people died. This is horrible. I get chills when I see that video. The bridge collapsed so fast most people probabally didnt know what hit them. Im sure people who survived, the first thing they thought was terrorism.

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I have been listening on the news radio today many interviews of people who witnessed survived the collapse. I know it went fast, but there have been reports of people being able to stop and 'back-up' from the bridge.

The last I heard a couple of hours ago was 4 confirmed dead (I know, higher numbers have been passed around and they will probably be extricating bodies for a some days to come) and up to 30 missing plus 79 injured.

It actually may have been a good thing that a construction zone was on the bridge to somewhat limit and slow traffic. Still an engineering/structural failure which will be remembered for decades to come.

My prayers and thoughts to the families of the victims of this tragedy.

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Last report is still 4 confirmed dead but they are saying that they have found multiple bodies trapped in their cars under concrete sections and just aren't able to get them out yet.

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Warning, long rant here.

First of all, of course my prayers are w/ the victims and their families, and w/ those that are still missing. I can also say the tales or heroism from both the first responders, the FD and PD and also just everyday civilians is great to see. Incidents like this seemingly tend to bring out the best in Americans. Some people who just barely escaped their own death were helping kids off that bus, and in other incidents and that is awe-inspiring to see.

Now for my rant, how the hell can this happen in the USA? Their are now reports from the early 90s of deficiencies in this bridge. How many other bridges are like this. They've reported that something like 77K bridges have some major deficiencies in them, and nothig seems to be getting done? How is it that the city of Minneapolis can spend half a billion on a damn baseball stadium, when the the one they had was just fine, and completely ignore a vital piece of public infrastructure like this. It doesn't make any sense to me. Our priorities are all screwed up. Our bridges and highways, are deterioting, yet we spend billions of dollars and an ill fated war in Iraq, and send aid to other countries worth countless billions, and we don't get our own infrastructure updated.

At least once or twice a month, I drive a bridge that is probably in worse shape than the bridge that collapsed is, that is the bridge on I-85 in Rowan County over the Yadkin River in NC. While I doubt it has as much traffic on it as this bridge did, it has a lot of truck traffic and is the main connection from Atl and Clt up to the large cities of the Northeast, especially for trucking companies like mine.

If the gov't has to raise the tax on a gallon of gasoline by $0.50 just to raise the money it would take to restore our crumbling nationwide infrastructure, then do it. Unfortunately, I doubt the Congress and the President will act, and we'll continue seeing more catastrophies like this, as our infrastructure continues to crumble. Most of this countries highway system, especially the interstate system, was built in the 1950s and 60s. It's time to bring it up to today's standards.

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The city of Minneapolis has nothing to do with the funding or inspection of that bridge.

in 2001, MnDOT issued a statement about the 35W bridge saying that they were concerned that only two steel trusses were supporting 8 lanes of traffic. They felt that with serious deficiencies and issues on the bridge, if there were severe fatigue cracks on one of the trusses, the entire bridge could collapse.

Nothing was done. While this bridge was on its way to failure we were being distracted with battles over gay marriage and abortion and attempts to rename freeways after Ronald Reagan.

Minnesota has largely ignored its roads/bridges since the 1980s and even with record transportation funding (that Pawlenty likes to tout), we aren't anywhere near where we should be to restore our roads to their condition in the early 1990s.

Unfortunately it takes tragedies like this to wake people up, and the tone of debate about infrastructure funding will likely take a dramatic turn in light of what happened yesterday.

Jim Oberstar DFL-MN is the head of the house transportation committee and he is very determined to get more money flowing into maintaining our road infrastructure.

Transportation funding has been severely underfunded in the past several years and our infrastructure is not holding the status quo, it is deteriorating and now failing.

Of course Minnesota faces unique challenges in maintaining roads and bridges. We have winter temperatures that reach -30 to -40*F on a yearly basis and summer temperatures in excess of 100*F on a yearly basis. Temps can rise or plummet 20 to 30*F in an hour. These dramatic and fast changes wreak havoc on our roads and their structures. This in combination with salt on the roads leads to unusually fast deterioration of our roads.

Currently in the Twin Cities, a large section of I-35W south of the collapsed bridge is being completely reconstructed where it merges with MN-62 (known as the Crosstown Commons). The Commons was the result of corner cutting in the 1960s that left a narrow corridor with a maximum width of 6 lanes on the busiest section of freeway in the region. Many houses have been demolished to widen out these roads.

In Roseville, MN-36, a previous 4-lane highway was constructed into a freeway in recent years. Last year, MnDOT decided to close the entire highway for FOUR years so that it could completely reconstruct the road.

I-35E (the sister of 35W running through St. Paul) is being reconstructed at its intersection with I694. This will serve as a major alternative for commuters since 35W has become obsolete. Unfortunately, many of hte access ramps at 35E and 694 are subject to frequent closures due to reconstruction.

There are two other main alternatives to commuters:

Take I-694 across the Mississippi River in the northern suburbs and then take I-94 south to downtown. Unfortunately, a large bottleneck will back up traffic as 94 goes from a 10 lane freeway to a 4 lane freeway over a short distance before going into a tunnel and making a 90* turn to the east.

The other alternative is to take MN-280, which is a 4-lane highway with traffic lights. Mn-DOT has turned all of the traffic lights permanently green in effect making it "controlled access" but this poses major problems for people that need to cross the highway.

In effect, the Twin Cities are a giant mess right now. Luckily Minnesotans passed a constitutional amendment in fall 2006 that dedicates all funding raised by the gas tax and various transport fees to building and maintaining roads/bridges and public transport.

Taxes will likely have to go up, but it's a price that I, along with a majority of Minnesotans, are willing to pay to have safe roads and bridges.

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The city of Minneapolis has nothing to do with the funding or inspection of that bridge.

in 2001, MnDOT issued a statement about the 35W bridge saying that they were concerned that only two steel trusses were supporting 8 lanes of traffic. They felt that with serious deficiencies and issues on the bridge, if there were severe fatigue cracks on one of the trusses, the entire bridge could collapse.

Nothing was done. While this bridge was on its way to failure we were being distracted with battles over gay marriage and abortion and attempts to rename freeways after Ronald Reagan.

Minnesota has largely ignored its roads/bridges since the 1980s and even with record transportation funding (that Pawlenty likes to tout), we aren't anywhere near where we should be to restore our roads to their condition in the early 1990s.

Unfortunately it takes tragedies like this to wake people up, and the tone of debate about infrastructure funding will likely take a dramatic turn in light of what happened yesterday.

Jim Oberstar DFL-MN is the head of the house transportation committee and he is very determined to get more money flowing into maintaining our road infrastructure.

Transportation funding has been severely underfunded in the past several years and our infrastructure is not holding the status quo, it is deteriorating and now failing.

Of course Minnesota faces unique challenges in maintaining roads and bridges. We have winter temperatures that reach -30 to -40*F on a yearly basis and summer temperatures in excess of 100*F on a yearly basis. Temps can rise or plummet 20 to 30*F in an hour. These dramatic and fast changes wreak havoc on our roads and their structures. This in combination with salt on the roads leads to unusually fast deterioration of our roads.

Currently in the Twin Cities, a large section of I-35W south of the collapsed bridge is being completely reconstructed where it merges with MN-62 (known as the Crosstown Commons). The Commons was the result of corner cutting in the 1960s that left a narrow corridor with a maximum width of 6 lanes on the busiest section of freeway in the region. Many houses have been demolished to widen out these roads.

In Roseville, MN-36, a previous 4-lane highway was constructed into a freeway in recent years. Last year, MnDOT decided to close the entire highway for FOUR years so that it could completely reconstruct the road.

I-35E (the sister of 35W running through St. Paul) is being reconstructed at its intersection with I694. This will serve as a major alternative for commuters since 35W has become obsolete. Unfortunately, many of hte access ramps at 35E and 694 are subject to frequent closures due to reconstruction.

There are two other main alternatives to commuters:

Take I-694 across the Mississippi River in the northern suburbs and then take I-94 south to downtown. Unfortunately, a large bottleneck will back up traffic as 94 goes from a 10 lane freeway to a 4 lane freeway over a short distance before going into a tunnel and making a 90* turn to the east.

The other alternative is to take MN-280, which is a 4-lane highway with traffic lights. Mn-DOT has turned all of the traffic lights permanently green in effect making it "controlled access" but this poses major problems for people that need to cross the highway.

In effect, the Twin Cities are a giant mess right now. Luckily Minnesotans passed a constitutional amendment in fall 2006 that dedicates all funding raised by the gas tax and various transport fees to building and maintaining roads/bridges and public transport.

Taxes will likely have to go up, but it's a price that I, along with a majority of Minnesotans, are willing to pay to have safe roads and bridges.

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