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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Minneapolis Bridge Tragedy

Last night, at 6:05pm (local time), a major bridge on I-35 collapsed in Minneapolis. So far, 9 people are confirmed dead, over 60 injured, 10 critically, and 20 are missing. My heart bleeds for those families. The pictures are horrific. There was no warning. There was some work being done on the bridge, general maintenance and repair, apparently, and there is no evidence yet that it contributed to the collapse. It was a HUGE section of bridge that fell; I don't know yet how much initially fell and how much was pulled down because of the failure of that first part. A school bus was caught on the end of the bridge and didn't fall into the Mississippi River; the children exited from a rear door since the front door was jammed against the side of the bridge.

I remember years ago Eric G. told me that he was afraid of bridges, that every time he drove across one, he all but prayed, even though he wasn't a particularly religious person. "I hate them!" he said. I can remember being mildly amused: how could this big truck driver be afraid of bridges!?!

Today, as I was driving to work, I had to cross over and under several bridges on Route 3 East. Most of them are concrete bridges, built sometime in the late 40s and 50s. One of them, the Berry Creek Bridge, in the Meadowlands, is a big structure. That one makes me nervous; you can't see anything above or below you, or immediately over the sides...

I hope for the best in Minneapolis.

[Note: As of today, 5 are confirmed dead, not 9. That's 5 too many.]

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