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This site was created by the undergraduate and graduate students in Emerging Technologies in Scientific and Technical Communication, a Writing Department Spring 2008 course at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus.


  The I-35W Bridge Collapse, One Month Later                                 I-35W Bridge Collapse                                                                    zoom                               

  September 1, 2007 by pmarkham                                                  September 2, 2007 by Enrico Fuente                                             August 1, 2007 by eb78


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     Minnesota Bridge Collapse

     March 12, 2008 by malnourish


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The events of the I-35W bridge collapse include more than just the devastation of 1 August 2007. The history of the bridge began in the 1960s when it was in its planning and construction phases. It continues today with the investigation, the controversy that surrounds its collapse, and its rebuilding efforts.  


The chronology of these events is divided into three sections: 


  • The first section covers events before August 2007. It begins with the bridge's design and construction back in the mid-1960s.
  • The second section covers the events of August 2007, including the recovery of the victims.
  • The last section covers the time from September 2007 to December 2008, which is when the new bridge should be completed and open to traffic.



Charities and victim compensation funds

Following the collapse of the 35W Bridge, the Twin Cities, the state of Minnesota, the U.S., and even the world came together to support the victims and their families financially and emotionally. Money poured into the two major local charities—the American Red Cross and Minnesota Helps. Prayer services, charity concerts, and fundraisers were held. The state legislature has also created the 35W Bridge Victim Compensation Fund, but as of late April 2008, the House and Senate were still hammering out the differences in their plans.


Citizen journalism

In the past, even within the decade, the mainstream media was the primary source of information for many people. However, during the 35W Bridge collapse, the media was far from being the only source. Many Twin Cities citizens, including University of Minnesota students and staff, commuters, and passerbys recorded what they experienced on 1 August 2007. Using cell phones, digital cameras, and the internet, they shared what they saw and felt with the world.


City of Minneapolis preplanning

The city of Minneapolis wasn’t expecting a disaster, but they were prepared for one. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, employees attended an emergency management course that prepared the city for many kinds of disaster scenarios including chemical release, terrorist attack and structure collapse.


Environmental aspects 

Steel, concrete and cars went into the river and train cars were crushed. In the days following the bridge collapse and the months during the demolition, the environmental impacts surrounding the bridge and downstream were tracked by many local agencies and organizations. Their efforts were designed to protect the recovery and demolition workers, local and downstream populations, and the river habitat.


Political repercussions

As soon as the 35W Bridge collapsed, people began wondering who was responsible. While the NTSB is still determining if anyone or any agency is at fault, some individuals in our state government have felt some political fallout.


Preventative measures



Redesign plans

The 35W Bridge collapsed 1 August, and by 9 August, Mn/DOT was already working on the bidding process for its replacement. Within three months, construction on the new St. Anthony Falls Bridge, which was designed to be aesthetically pleasing and fit in with its environment, had begun.


Safety investigation


Similar bridge collapses

Unfortunately, the 35W Bridge was not the first bridge in the U.S. to collapse and cause loss of life and injury. Several other bridge collapses have occurred—from the Ashtabula Horror in 1876 to the Hatchie River bridge in 1989—but most are not from structural defect. Bridges also collapse as a result of flooding, overload, or collisions with trucks, trains, ships, and barges. 


Structural causes of the collapse

 Until the NTSB completes its analysis of the bridge collapse, we will not know the exact cause of the collapse, but some of the possible causes have been cited as design flaw, fatigue, and corrosion.


$  Taxation


The I-35W bridge collapse has brought to light issues on the cost and funding of a disaster. This section contains information on the cost of the collapse in regards to how we will fund the rebuilding of the I-35W bridge, inspection of other bridges, and  compensation for the victims.



Technical response efforts


The emergency response to the 35W Bridge collapse included efforts at every level, from individual citizens to federal investigative resources to U.S. Navy rescue personnel. The technical efforts needed in the hours and days after the collapse, such as aerial photography, unrestricted Wi-Fi, and street mapping and routing, are not as well known. 


























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